Grading fruit on new quality aspects is of great importance for the fresh fruit sector. The sales of fresh fruit and with that the competitiveness of fruit growers in the market strongly depend on controlling quality parameters like the soundness and the in- and external appearance of fruit. The majority of growers in Europe still do the grading process mechanically e.g. by using templates or even by hand. This method is not acceptable any more. This is by no means reliable, very labour-intensive and consequently expensive, allowing detection of superficial deviations only. Modern growers tend to use electronic systems (although with very limited functions), which shortly become available on the market. It is no longer sufficient to determine the product quality only by grading on external parameters as size, weight, or even colour and other obvious defects. The market requires for detection of (hidden) bruises. rottenness, putrefaction. dry rot and biological defects beneath the skin must be detected. With traditional methods this is impossible. This RTD project must lead to: introduction of new detection techniques for more parameters, faster and more flexible fruit processing, one multi-deployable grading process suitable for all kinds of fruit The project must result into a concrete new generation of flexible automatic electronic fruit grading machines, using state-of-the-art powerful control and processing technique, easy to operate and suitable for rapid and automatic changing over from type of fruit to another. The system will be based on entirely new detection technology by using fluorescence, phosphorescence, infra-red technology etc. At short notice electronic grading will replace practically all traditional methods. In Europe the fruit grading business covers some hundreds of million ECU.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards