Tomra Insight 4.0 data platform enhances food sorting and grading efficiencies

Cloud-based service unlocks the power of big data to monitor and optimise food sorting processes.

Following its launch last year by Tomra Sorting Recycling, Tomra Insight is now also being made available to Tomra Mining customers, Tomra Food and Compac, part of the Tomra Food family. For these industries the platform is enhanced by new features and functionalities.

Tomra Insight is designed to turn sorting and grading machines into connected devices that generate process data. This data is stored in the cloud, converted into actionable information, and accessible from anywhere via a web portal for desktop and mobile devices.

Tomra Insight’s data-gathering helps processors in near real-time and retrospect. Because product quality is measured continuously, machine operators are empowered to make prompt and optimal adjustments to machine settings in response to product quality changes on the line. And because Tomra Insight provides previously inaccessible deep-dive data, customers are now empowered to make operational and business decisions based on more complete information.

Tomra’s engineers help customers analyse critical data every month as part of the Tomra Insight subscription service. “Accurate and timely” comparison is now possible between multiple sites, shifts, batches, and seasons.

Felix Flemming, vice-president and head of digital at Tomra Sorting, commented: “By capturing and using valuable data, Tomra Insight is transforming sorting from an operational process into a strategic management tool And this tool is constantly becoming more powerful as we continuously develop it in response to customers’ needs and priorities. New functionalities and features are released every three weeks – a routine during which Tomra works closely with customers in pursuit of shared objectives.”

Food processors see multiple benefits
Due to the performance metrics gathered by Tomra Insight, processors can benefit in many ways. For instance, downtime is reduced by monitoring machine health and performance to support predictive and condition-based maintenance. Throughput is maximised by evaluating variations and optimising sorting equipment accordingly. Efficiency is improved by identifying gaps in production and analysing potential root causes. Sorting to target quality is enhanced by being able to make decisions based on accurate product composition data. And operations are simplified through easier spare parts ordering and flexible access to data and documentation.

Jeffery Steemans, product manager digital at Tomra Food, said: “Food processors participating in pilot installations tell us that Tomra Insight will pay back month after month. They see improvements in product quality, higher throughputs, lower waste, and greater yields. Customers also report that machine operators embrace the transparency of having information available to make better decisions.”

One food processor which conducted an early trial of Tomra Insight and has now committed to the subscription service is The Jersey Royal Company. Located in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey, this company is the producer of the Jersey Royal new potato in the Channel Islands. This business grows, washes, grades, packs and supplies about 20,000 tonnes of potatoes annually. Four of the company’s sorting machines – one Halo and three Tomra 5A’s – have been connected to Tomra Insight for more than six months, and have “convincingly proven the data platform’s effectiveness”, Tomra reported.

Andrzej Kopacz, operations manager at The Jersey Royal Company, commented: “Using the information we’re getting from Insight, we are now managing product-quality more precisely to meet customer expectations, improve product control and allocation, see where we need to help sorters meet targets, reduce waste, and make better use of the equipment with less downtime.

“We are now also able to give better feedback to our growers. For example, we can flag-up very quickly if there are too many unwanted green potatoes coming through for processing. To us, it’s clear that Tomra Insight is well worth having.”