Bühler Launches New Optical Sorting Platform for Fruit and Vegetables


The Bühler Group is demonstrating its commitment to the fruit and vegetable industry with the expansion of its SORTEX F range of optical sorters. The new, compact SORTEX FA1, set to be unveiled at Fruit Logistica 2018, is designed to provide the final quality check in fruit and vegetable packing lines. It is also ideal in the processing line where space is limited or for processing lower volumes of high value premium, niche and organic products.

The SORTEX FA1 follows the highly successful launch of the larger SORTEX FA2, which offered unsurpassed standards in hygienic optical sorting, with the most open, accessible and easy to clean frame available on the market. Coupled with SORTEX PolarVision™ technology it provides the industry with the most advanced FM detection system.  Winning plaudits from the across the industry -  the top three frozen fruit and vegetable processors and many niche businesses are all investing in the SORTEX F range for their frozen applications.

The launch comes as the global frozen fruit and vegetable market is expected to grow by more than 5% annually to 750 million tonnes by 2027 (according to Market Research Future), driven by changing consumption patterns and an appetite for new flavours and ingredients.  Innovation in freezing technologies and cold chain logistics also mean that demand for optical sorting technology is expected to rise to keep pace with changing market dynamics.

Stefano Bonacina, Bühler Group’s Segment Development Manager for Fruit & Vegetables in Europe and CIS, whose experience in the fruit and vegetable industry spans some 29 years says: “Our customers require the right technology and service for their needs, which is why we are continually expanding our sorting portfolio.  The SORTEX FA1 is the perfect solution for businesses processing smaller quantities of high value product – particularly organic produce and for use within the ingredients, cosmetics and pharmaceutical markets.”

The FDA-compliant SORTEX F range is not only designed to prevent the build-up of pathogenic bacteria and cross-contamination that can incubate food-borne diseases, such as E-Coli, Listeria, Norovirus and Salmonella, it’s also resistant to high-pressure jet washes to allow convenient and rapid cleaning between sorts.

SORTEX PolarVision™ together with PROfile™ shape technology, provides superior FM and extraneous vegetable matter (EVM) detection and when combined with the powerful Ejector+ technology – featuring 128 new powerful ejectors with 25% more force – it can cope with everything from fine wood shavings to stones and glass, supporting its status as the industry’s most advanced sorter.

Joel Chase, Bühler Product Manager for Fruit & Vegetables globally, urges processors to do their homework before making a significant investment in sorting technology: “It’s no surprise that the intense focus on safety and quality has led to a proliferation of new technologies to address these issues. However, with such a plethora of choice - and quality standards - now available, it is vital that manufacturers and processors diligently research the options that meet their precise sorting needs before committing to any major capital investment.

“The 600mm-chute SORTEX FA1 sorting platform fulfils the stringent demands of today’s market. It boasts the same cutting-edge technology as the larger 1200mm-chute, 14 tonnes per hour SORTEX FA2, but within a smaller footprint handling up to seven tonnes per hour.  It is ideal for processing plants where space is at a premium or for lower capacity sorts - and perfect in the packing hall for final quality checking.”

A perfect example of a processor reaping the benefits of SORTEX technology is berry supplier Blåtand AB. It prides itself on its environmentally-friendly, ethical production that meets the highest standards.  Explaining why Blåtand chose the SORTEX F with PolarVision™ technology for its quality-assured ISO 22000-certfied facility, Ulf Hagner, Managing Director at Blåtand, explained: “Our goal was to create the best berry cleaning process on the market, making it possible to produce a high-quality, class 1 product that is free from FM. Since installing the SORTEX F PolarVision™ optical sorter, we have achieved our goal and can now fulfil the requirements of the most demanding customers by supplying them with the highest quality frozen, cleaned berries.”

Stefano Bonacina concludes: “The fruit and vegetable industry is an important part of our business and is a key area for continued development. Our customers need to meet differing and complex specifications, so we work closely with them to ensure we provide the right solution for their requirements.  We will continue to support our customers in their aim to deliver top quality produce with maximum levels of purity.”

Bühler continues to demonstrate its commitment to the Fruit & Vegetable sector and with its expanding portfolio of leading-edge technology, underpinned by its exemplary customer service, it is well placed to support customers globally.

Visitors to Fruit Logistica interested in hearing more about the support available, can visit stand B-03 in in Hall 10.1 where they can see the new SORTEX FA1 and meet Buhler’s F&V team, including newly appointed Product Manager for the global F&V sector, Joel Chase. The team will be happy to explain how Bühler and its optical sorting portfolio can help processors improve food safety and increase value in their business.