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


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.

Chen, Xin
Industry Vision Automation Corporation
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