JAPAN – The famous annual Japan Food Journal Awards’ machine category went to the TOMRA 5C premium sorter, which took first place for setting new industry standards in accuracy, efficiency, and ease of use by employing digital tools and AI technology.

The Japan Food Journal Awards, which are now in their 25th year, highlight goods that promote the growth of the food industry through innovation.

Judges evaluate entries based on their contributions to creating new food products, cost reductions, and improved manufacturing efficiency.

The awards ceremony took place at the Daiichi Hotel in Tokyo where Mr. Tetsuro Nomura, Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, was the Guest of Honor

Mr. Eizo Oda, Chairman of the Japan Food Distribution Association, presented the prize to Steven Van Geel, Regional Sales Director for the APAC region of TOMRA Processed Food.

“TOMRA Food is proud that the high-precision, high-capacity TOMRA 5C sorter has been recognized in this way.

“This honor is important to us, not only here in Japan, where the food industry sets exceptionally high standards, but also throughout the APAC region, where many food businesses export their products to Japan. In TOMRA’s 50th anniversary year, this is something else to celebrate,” Van Geel commented.

The Awards’ machine category is open to food-related machines, robots, equipment, and software. There is also a category for packaging containers and materials, and another for food additives, flavors, and raw materials.

The judges’ panel comprises six Senior Executives from Japan’s food industry and the President of The Japan Food News.

TOMRA 5C sorting machine

After first being released in Europe and the USA, the TOMRA 5C was presented in June to Japan and other markets in the Asia Pacific area.

This machine was calibrated to sort frozen veggies and fruit after being initially designed to sort dried fruit and nuts.

The TOMRA 5C safeguards against foreign substances, cross-contamination, and even the tiniest manufacturing flaws for dried fruit and nuts.

In the process of sorting nuts, it detects and eliminates allergies as well as shells, peewee in-shell, gummies, testa, skin markings, butterballs, stink bugs, and more.

For frozen fruits and vegetables, the TOMRA 5C is positioned on the processing line between the IQF tunnel and packing station to perform final inspections for food safety and product quality.

This gets rid of any leftover foreign objects, extraneous plant matter, and difficult-to-find product flaws including stalks and stems in green beans and nightshade in peas.

TOMRA Foods claims that the sorter delivers unrivaled sorting accuracy by combining industry-leading sensors and high-resolution lasers with TOMRA’s unique Biometric Signature Identification (BSI+) technology, AI machine learning, and big-data analysis.

With BSI+, every object passing down the processing line is assessed for color, shape, and biological characteristics. By looking inside materials with next-generation spectral imaging, BSI+ clearly contrasts good and bad materials and can detect smaller defects than conventional spectral technology.

With AI machine learning, the TOMRA 5C continually improves its accuracy in detecting defection. AI also empowers defect classification software, including the button-activated “magic wand”, a feature with which machine users can set new sorting programs with an accuracy previously only attainable by service engineers.   

Big-data analysis is made possible by connecting the TOMRA 5C to the cloud-based data platform TOMRA Insight. By accessing live data from the sorter, operators can make almost instant improvements to line efficiencies. And by accessing data retrospectively, it becomes possible to quantify the standards of raw materials from suppliers and to make better-informed business decisions.   

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