Visitors to Potato Europe, the outdoor exhibition for potato cultivation and machinery (Tournai, Belgium, 6-7 September), were the first to see in action the latest-generation TOMRA 3A sorting machine. Already the most effective sorter of foreign material for potatoes at harvest and out-of-storage, the TOMRA 3A now takes sorting and product classification to even higher levels of accuracy by utilizing advanced AI.
On-demand demonstrations of the TOMRA 3A were given at the TOMRA Food’s exhibition booth on both days of the PotatoEurope trade fair. Visitors to TOMRA’s booth also had the opportunity to talk with four of the company’s potato specialists: Global Category Director of Potatoes, Marco Colombo; Regional Sales Managers Alain De Puydt and Peter Janssens; and Area Sales Managers Wouter Oers and Grégoire Volpoet.
AI-Powered Precision with Dual Functionality
The TOMRA 3A is an optical sorter with dual functionality. It removes foreign materials from the crop before storage and classifies the potatoes by size after storage. It can be used as a standalone solution or integrated into mobile transloaders or mechanical crop cleaners.
Now that AI is embedded in the TOMRA 3A’s image-processing, it evaluates pixels in a more sophisticated way when assessing objects passing down the line, seeing how pixels are shaped against each other and looking at a cluster or an object as a whole before classifying and sorting.
This makes it even better at distinguishing between potatoes and dirt clods or lumps, which other machines incorrectly see as potatoes.
Unrivaled effectiveness matched by speed
The TOMRA 3A’s effectiveness is matched by speed: it detects and ejects up to 90% or more of all foreign materials – such as rocks, stones, soil clods, wood, bone, plastic, glass, metal, and rubber – while handling up to 100 tons of potatoes per hour. By scanning objects with near-infrared, the TOMRA 3A also removes green potatoes.
Introducing AI has also improved TOMRA 3A’s ability to classify the product. Extensive validation tests have shown that, depending on flow, it can measure potatoes by width and length with 95.3% overall efficiency, output, and connectivity.
Marco Colombo, TOMRA’s Global Category Director for Potatoes, said: “This machine was already best-in-class, and now it’s even better. It delivers cleaner potatoes and higher yields while reducing dependence on manual labor at times of labor scarcity. It’s also easy to use, clean, and maintain. PotatoEurope was a good opportunity to demonstrate this machine’s remarkable capabilities.”
Source: TOMRA Food
Cover photo: The TOMRA team at Potato Europe 2023
Marijke Bellemans, Director Brand and Communications, TOMRA Food, Belgium
M: +32 (0)476 74 19 18
Nuria Martí, Alarcon & Harris PR, Spain
T: +34 91 415 30 20