An Ishida X-ray inspection system is helping a leading Turkish dried fruit supplier meet the stringent quality standards of UK and Western European retailers.
A family business originating from the famous apricot heartland of Malatya Provence in Eastern Anatolia and now based in Izmir, Farmeks produces a range of dried fruits including apricots, sultanas, raisins, mulberries and figs, which are packed in bulk, typically 10kg bag-in-box cartons. Nearly half of the company’s products are exported to the UK with the remainder going to other Western European countries and also the USA.
One of the major quality challenges for dried fruit packers are the contaminants that can get into the fruit during the two week sun-drying process. With the majority of products exported to Europe, quality control became the main priority for Farmeks, as the fruits had not only to be free of contamination such as stones, glass and metal but also intact and consistent in size and colour. In particular, UK retail customers specify that bulk supplies have to be thoroughly checked for contamination before reaching UK pack houses.
As part of this process, the Ishida IX-GA-4075 is able to detect glass down to 1.5mm in size, stones down to 1mm, metal spheres to 0.6mm and metal wire to 0.3mm. These excellent results are achieved thanks to Ishida’s unique GA self-learning Genetic Algorithm (GA) technology. This utilises image data analysis over a number of inspections to build up a more precise calibration protocol of typical contaminants. As a result they can be more easily identified and their location in the pack pinpointed.
The ability of the machine to detect stones in particular has surpassed Farmeks’ expectations.
Farmeks managing director Ali Seydi Memur confirms: “We were amazed about the detection sensitivity of the Ishida X-ray. It produced better results than we had anticipated, and on a consistent basis”.
“The machine is also very easy to operate and changing over product takes just a few ticks on the touch screen unit.”
The Ishida X-ray system has been installed in Farmeks’ recently opened new state-of-the-art pack house in Izmir. Product is first washed, then graded by size, checked for discolouration, and optically inspected for any remaining blemishes before being fed into the X-ray system via a vibratory conveyor with a metal grating that eliminates any broken items. After X-ray inspection, contaminated product is immediately rejected using a flap mechanism on the outfeed chute.
The packing speed depends on the availability of product but in peak times Farmeks can typically pack two 10kg boxes a minute.
Farmeks’ Managing Director, Ali Seydi Memur, predicts a bright future for his family-owned and run business:
“Even if every person in the UK eats as much dried fruit as we do here in Turkey, we would simply have to plant more trees to meet this demand! Our pack house is ready for the future and my family is well placed to carry on with delivering only the best dried fruit for our customers. The Ishida X-ray inspection system plays a vital role in making sure that our products are safe to eat and to enjoy.”