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TOMRA Food inaugurates new regional center in Valencia, main HUB for Southern Europe and North Africa

TOMRA Food is a world leader in optical sorting, grading and peeling solutions. Its main markets are the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Australia and China. As a global company, it required a more focused approach which the company’s new EVP and Head of TOMRA Food Harald Henriksen, addressed with the creation of a regional structure for the organization.

Karel Strubbe, the new SVP and Head of TOMRA Food for Europe, Africa and the Middle East explains: “We want to work directly with the customer in as few time zones as possible. This enables us to be more agile, to establish an even closer relationship with our customers and ultimately to work better locally. It is vital to improve the speed and quality of communications to always offer the best service.”

Working with customers on the design of new solutions

TOMRA Food sees its relationship with its customers as a collaborative process where both look for the best solution for each project and work together on the design of new solutions. The Spanish fruit and vegetable and nut sector – which is key for the company – is highly concentrated in the eastern Levante region and surrounding area.

That’s why the new center in Valencia, which is now fully operational, is an important step in strengthening this personal approach and fostering a close relationship and communication with the producers.

TOMRA Food’s expert team will manage the company’s European projects from their base in the Valencia center. The site will be the hub for demonstrations of large and small fruit applications. It will also conduct occasional demonstrations for processed food, although Belgium will continue to be the center of reference for these products. It will also deliver training for company staff and TOMRA Food customer operators.

The center also serves as an after-sales service hub in the EMEA region and stores spare parts to reduce delivery times. A local technical team of 15 people, headed by Team Leader Jorge García Cascales, provides excellent support to the almost 400 machines in fresh and processed food installations in Spain and Portugal, and also serves other countries in the region.

The importance of demonstration centers

Alejandro Palacios, TOMRA Food’s regional sales manager for Southern Europe, says: “For us, demonstration centers are very important. They enable us to show our customers what our sorting machines can achieve for them. The majority of demonstrations at the Valencia center are for citrus, blueberries, and whole potatoes. Customers can also bring their product and receive support tailored to their needs. The whole TOMRA team is very excited about the new center.”

Jesus Hernandez

Jesus Hernandez, sales manager of TOMRA Food Spain, adds: “TOMRA is a European company. In the short term, we have set ourselves the goal of becoming the sales leader in the EMEA Region – a position we already hold in other regions such as the United States, South Africa and Australia. TOMRA’s new center in Valencia is the company’s response to the specific needs of the market.

“We are growing at a good pace, and we have plans for expansion. To achieve this goal, we are focusing our efforts on continuous innovation, delivering excellent service and customer-centered advice and expertise. Ultimately, we want to be close to our customers and convey that we continue to offer value-added solutions and services.”

TOMRA solutions at the European center in Valencia: technology at the service of the citrus sector

The Valencia center has an ample area for demonstrations with a variety of machines. They include the Demo SLS (Single Lane Sorter) featuring Spectrim C2IR and Inspectra 2 for citrus and large fruit applications (apples, stone fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, avocados, etc.).

TOMRA Food Valencia demo room

Also at the center is a KATO + LUCAi 12-line sorter for blueberries, which uses Deep Learning technology with pre-trained models that teach computers how to process data and detect complex patterns in photos. A TOMRA 3A optical sorter for unwashed potatoes featuring the latest mechanical and vision advances is also available for demonstrations.

“The idea is to have machines, such as the KATO and Spectrim for fresh produce, always at the center. These are sorters built on high-performance hardware with improved lighting and image quality, providing complete visibility of every piece of fruit, and infrared channels to detect complex defects such as radial cracks, bruises, rotten fruit, scars, and punctures. We will also have a circulation of fresh food machines according to seasonal fruit and processed food sorters to support the various campaigns,” explains Alejandro Palacios.

Jesus Hernandez adds: “Our technology has to be seen first-hand, tested with each customer’s fruit. TOMRA’s strong commitment to R&D allows us to offer customized solutions and services. Integrated sorting and grading solutions reduce labor requirements while increasing yield, and product consistency and traceability. They also ensure efficiency in all post-harvest stages, so that our customers get the best return on their investment, and faster.”

Technologies in constant evolution

TOMRA’s technologies are in constant evolution, with innovations such as the 5.0 more intuitive and predictive software, or the Inspectra2 spectrometry system that reveals the internal condition of the fruit, coming on stream.

TOMRA Food is not short of innovations. It will soon unveil to the European markets the recently launched Spectrim X platform, which reduces sorting errors and increases the yield of each batch of fruit. The Spectrim X series with Deep Learning technology, which has been tested for 18 months in plants in the United States and New Zealand, represents a breakthrough in performance compared to its predecessor. It reduces inspection errors, consequently increasing throughput.

“This is, without doubt, the big novelty, and will be very interesting for the market,” concludes Jesus Hernandez.

Source: TOMRA Food
Cover image: TOMRA Food Valencia demo room
Nuria Martí
Alarcon & Harris PR
Alejandro Palacios
Sales Manager, South Europe

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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