TOMRA Food selected to partner global leader in fresh-frozen vegetables

Ardo upgrades processing technologies with Sentinel II optical sorting machines

TOMRA Food, the leading manufacturer of sensor-based sorting machines for the food industry, has been selected to partner Ardo, a global leader in the fresh-frozen vegetable sector. Ardo has installed two TOMRA Sentinel II optical sorting machines at its processing plant in Ardooie, Belgium, as part of its ongoing objective to achieve ‘maximum output in both volume and quality.’

Ardo is a family-owned business which has grown to a €1bn turnover through commitment to quality. Ardo employs 3,800 people at 21 production, packing and distribution sites in nine nations, and exports to more than 100 countries. The company sources vegetables, herbs and fruit from 3,500 growers and processes 860,000 tonnes annually. One-quarter of all frozen vegetables in Europe come from Ardo, primarily for use in soups, ready-to-eat meals, and baby food. Ardo also supplies the house brands of almost all large European supermarkets, as well as large caterers for rest homes, hospitals and schools.

Ardo’s Group Marketing & Communication Director, Heidi Goovaerts, commented: “As a very innovative company, investments in the factory are one way that we differ from our competitors. We also differentiate ourselves through sustainability. This includes minimising food waste, which is one reason why we selected TOMRA’s sorting machines. TOMRA’s technologies will help us minimise waste and maximise productivity at the same time as delivering the highest product quality.”

The Sentinel II has a flexible design configurable for many different types of food-sorting, although it is most often used for tomato, peach, and potato processing. The latest illumination and detection technology (with double-sided or single-sided off-belt inspection of product flow) ensures unmatched sorting accuracy, capacity, and durability. The Sentinel II is available in three different sizes, and its throughput-to-width ratio is the highest in the industry.

The heart of Sentinel II’s sorting ability is pulsed LED/sensor arrays technology for illuminating and detecting impurities. Combining this technology with an easy-to-use control screen enables users to remove a broad range of defects, discoloration, damage, and undersize product, in addition to removing foreign materials. The Sentinel II’s patented rejection system offers low, medium or high-speed modes and a wide capacity range of 40-200 tons/hour. This makes the machine ideal for seasonal and year-round processors seeking perfect product quality.

Ardo’s Production Line Manager, Gillis Alliet, said: “Technology does not stand still, and that’s why we decided to purchase these new machines, because we always strive for a better product. The Sentinel II is a reliable machine, well designed for operator safety, and an enhancement for our line in terms of food safety. The machines are easy to set up, give good results, and have a really nice control display. The operators are happy to work with these machines – they use them like they use their mobile phones, intuitively. The Sentinel is easy to set up and gives the best results.”

Bjorn Thumas, Business Development Director at TOMRA Food, said: “Ardo is one of the food industry’s great success stories, not least because of the company’s dedication to innovation and quality. Ardo bought a TOMRA color sorter about 15 years ago, so the company knows from first-hand experience how effective and durable our machines are. By investing in newer technology, Ardo is once again well-positioned to stay ahead of the game.”

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