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Automated Strawberry Calyx and Defects Removal Technology For Improving Food Quality and Safety and Minimizing Field Labor.

Investigators
Chen, Xin
Institutions
Industry Vision Automation Corporation
Start date
2016
End date
2018
Objective
Strawberries are the 2nd largest non-citrus fruit crop in the U.S, trailing grapes (USDA 2015). With strawberries harvested for processing as a value-added food ingredient, the calyx (the stem cap with the green crown leaves) must be removed to avoid having inedible leaves in the food product. The current in-field labor intensive de-capping process using cutting tools risks finger laceration and food cross-contamination. The current defect sorting process is labor intensive and prone to errors and human fatigue.Through Phase I study, we have developed a new technology that uses an automated, optical-guided calyx cutting technology featuring a bladeless high-pressure water knife. Phase I research demonstrated the feasibility of an automated optical-guided calyx and defect removal system, andsuccessfully met and exceeded its objectives.With proven concepts from Phase I, Phase II will lead to development of a fully-automated prototype.Our objectives for Phase II are: (1) to develop and implement a user-friendly wash-down capable prototype embedded with hardware electronics, algorithms, and software designed to operate in a strawberry processing plant, (2) to improve cutting performance moving prototype closer to a production model while testing reliability, robustness, stress tolerance, durability, safety, etc.; (3) to develop and further improve strawberry calyx cutting accuracy and defect detection/separation to meet growers practical needs.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
MD.K-2016-03882
Accession number
1010093
Categories
Prevention and Control
Commodities
Produce