Since 1904, Andersen’s has been farming prunes, walnuts and cattle in the small town of Vina, located in the Northern Sacramento Valley. Four generations later Andersen & Sons is still going strong.

After many years of hard work and dedication, this family owned business has grown and evolved. Fourteen years ago, the company made an important decision to focus on the production of walnuts and became the Andersen & Sons Shelling we know today. Andersen & Sons Shelling’s success is driven by being diverse, while holding true to its philosophy to provide superior products with excellent customer service.

The company currently offers conventional and organic walnuts in-shell and various kernel product types, shipping to over 30 countries across the world including: Japan, Australia, Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Germany.

Mike Andersen, vice president of sales, explained: “Andersen & Sons is different because we are a fourth generation, family-owned farm. We started with Black Angus, prunes and walnuts and pride ourselves in doing big business with a small town feel.

“Our mission is to establish and maintain relationships with our growers and buyers. We strive to treat everyone with the same honesty, integrity and respect and want to provide the best high-end products available on the market. Over the last 13 years, the number of walnuts that have been processed have increased from 750,000 pounds a year in 2002, to 54 million pounds in 2015.”

“We want to give retail customers the best product available on the market. We focus on high spec quality.” Mike Andersen, vice president of sales at Andersen & Sons

One of the major problems Andersen & Sons faced in the past was their inability to identify defects using just laser sorters. Having outgrown its latest machine, they needed something that would meet the company’s specific demands.

Mike continues: “TOMRA is a familiar name in the industry. We have been using TOMRA laser sorters since 2005, but  we recently purchased TOMRA’s Nimbus free fall sorting machine with Biometric Signature Identification (BSI) – a larger machine with advanced laser sorting technology.

“The Nimbus BSI is able to process larger quantities of walnuts at the same time, meaning it has the ability to increase productivity and reduce any foreign material. Since purchasing the Nimbus BSI, we have been able to satisfy a larger customer base due to the output being of a higher quality.

“This gives us the capacity to be able to sell to a range of customers while retaining both old and new customers based on our quality return to them. We also expect to see a three  to four year payback period as we’ve been able to increase our production of a cleaner product.”

“Using TOMRA’s Nimbus BSI, we have gone from 2-3 shells per quality test to zero.”

“The next steps now are to continue fine tuning the equipment and continuing to train our employees to make them ‘laser pros’. Mike Andersen, vice president of sales at Andersen & Sons

“The Nimbus BSI not only gives us the ability to pack much more efficiently, but it is extremely user friendly. The benefit of this means we are able to decrease the number of employees it takes to operate the machines.

“TOMRA has been very responsive to all of our requests. They have helped us to upgrade all of our equipment to create one cohesive system.” Mike Andersen, vice president of sales at Andersen & Sons

Mike concludes: “Aside from clearing out foreign material and defects in the product, knowing that TOMRA offers us a “big service presence” which is second to none, adds great value to our business. Now that we have machines with both lasers and cameras, we are confident that we are picking up on foreign material that used to slip through.”

“One of our biggest challenges for the future is keeping up with customer demand for quality and volume. By working with TOMRA and implementing the Nimbus BSI, we know this is a challenge we can tackle as these machines set us apart from the rest.”