For fruit growers and producers concerned about high wastage levels caused by damage during handling and processing, crop quality specialists Martin Lishman Ltd. has developed a tool called ImpacTrack to identify problematic areas of production lines quickly and effectively.
ImpacTrack is a shock-sensing data logger with a family of dummy food shapes that replicate the movement characteristics of fruit and vegetables during handling and transport. By recording the journey through handling and packing processes, ImpacTrack users can make modifications to machinery or processes to reduce the amount of produce wasted because of damage such as bruising.
For David Restrepo, Assistant Director of avocado producer Agrícola Ocoa in Colombia and Chile, the ImpacTrack played a key role in improving the post-harvest process: "Using the ImpacTrack has helped improve the quality of our avocados. We were able to clearly see the areas of production that needed attention and have made adjustments to help reduce impacts. This has helped us to reduce waste and, knowing that the fruits are being handled carefully, has given us a reassurance boost that the avocados are of the best quality."
The ImpacTrack sensor is housed in a carrier shell designed to meet the customer's specific requirements. Martin Lishman's in-house design team can match the size, shape, and density of real produce to reproduce the movement characteristics (including floating in water) of produce prone to damage and bruising during handling and transport and therefore get as close as possible to a realistic representation of impact 'black spots' in handling machinery.
Data from the ImpacTrack is transmitted in real-time using Bluetooth to Martin Lishman's "ML Sensing" smartphone App, making it ideal for instant on-site analysis of handling equipment. The App can also be used to record the journey of fresh produce during shipping and other transport methods. The data is downloaded at the end of the journey and provides a record of any impacts sustained.
"In an industry filled with high-priced precision equipment, the ImpacTrack is proof that not all quality control systems need to cost the earth," explains Dr. Gavin Lishman, Chairman of Martin Lishman Ltd. "In fact, the potential cost savings involved when using ImpacTrack makes it incredibly cost-effective."
Martin Lishman has worked with growers and producers to create more than 40 different ImpacTrack shapes, including nine different apple versions, three avocado sizes, clementine, mango, and even a full-size pineapple, including the leaves of the crown.
The Martin Lishman team will be attending this year's Fruit Attraction event held in Madrid from October 4-6. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet face to face and see the latest developments in the ImpacTrack range. Find them in the British Pavilion in Hall 8, Stand 8B09.