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Todos los paises 29/04/2020

NIR Fruit Quality Meters help labs, growers, and packers follow Physical Distancing Requirements

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One of the steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is physical distancing, which is not an easy protocol for personnel working closely in food testing labs. Many fruit growers rely heavily on lab testing to assess when their orchards are ready to be harvested. Growers will typically choose sample fruit from different areas of their orchard and send them to a testing lab where lab personnel then cut, weigh and measure the fruit to assess dry matter, Brix and various other metrics.

However, Covid-19, quarantine guidelines and physical distancing measures have complicated this process and slowed down or halted lab testing altogether. Enter Felix Instruments and its line of NIR (near infrared) fruit quality measurement tools. President and owner, Leonard Felix, explains, “With the sheer volume of fruit that needs to be analyzed, our NIR devices can make a big impact. With an NIR device in hand, growers and lab personnel can take measurements in the field, where workers can easily distance themselves from others. The fruit can be left on the tree or vine and the data is immediately sent back via WIFI to the lab. Fewer personnel are needed in the lab, which frees resources and keeps workers safe.”

Company’s line of NIR devices currently includes tools to measure kiwifruit (Zespri® Sun Gold and Hayward kiwifruit varieties), mango (Tommy K, Ataulfo, Kent, Calypso, Keitt, and Honey Gold varieties), avocado (Hass) and a final all-in-one device that gives labs the ability to build NIR models and measure any fruit commodity. Single measurements with NIR take just seconds while more traditional analysis techniques can take anywhere from half an hour to days.

Measurement using NIR technology is not only useful for harvest timing. Mr. Felix elaborates, “For distributors, exporters and importers, NIR gives more visibility into the quality of the outgoing and incoming product. When a shipment arrives, quality assurance personnel can take dozens of measurements in just a few minutes to ascertain the quality and maturity of the load. This allows better decision making and cost savings.”

Growers and packers will often measure large quantities of fruit over the course of a season. Fruit is typically taken out of the supply chain and then destroyed. With NIR technology in hand, the need to destroy fruit is eliminated and tested fruit can be sold instead.

Breeders can benefit from the use of NIR as well. With smaller trials, the need to destroy fruit can present a major challenge. Access to NIR measurement tools gives breeders the ability to analyze different nutrient or herbicide applications on the same fruit over a season – an opportunity they have not previously had.

Leonard Felix explains that thanks to these advantages, along with the unique climate of social distancing, they are receiving a large number of inquiries for their NIR line. “Companies see the value in exploring alternative solutions to traditional measurement processes. While the Coronavirus has put everyone under strain, we are hopeful that armed with new technologies and processes, the fresh produce industry moves forward stronger and better positioned to weather setbacks in the future.”

With announcements of a new leaf spectrometer under its CID Bio-Science name and a revolutionary liquids spectrometer to be launched later this year, Felix’s outlook remains characteristically optimistic. “We are very bullish on the future”, Marketing Director Scott Trimble observes. “Uncertainty, is an indelible part of business and no amount of uncertainty will change business fundamentals. Focusing on our customers’ needs and innovating novel solutions based on these needs has been, and will continue to be, our core mission.”

Felix Instruments, along with a global network of distributors and resellers, delivers instruments and support worldwide. While much of Felix’s staff works from home, its production team are still hard at work and following strong social distancing protocols at its Camas, WA production facility.

To see Felix Instruments’ latest webinar on it’s NIR quality meters, click here.

To learn more about Felix Instruments’ full line of tools, visit official website

 

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Crowded testing lab with Avocado Quality Meter making measurements in the field
 
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