Thanks to its new facility, TOMRA Sorting Solutions is now able to test the performance of its sorting machines for all individually quick-frozen (IQF) products in a true-to-life environment.

The new 56-square-meter cold room, located in the test and demonstrating center in Leuven, Belgium, can accommodate two sorting machines, enabling parallel testing and comparisons, and features an indirect cooling system, fully controlled automatic access doors and LED lighting.

“It’s a fact that sorting performance and results are affected greatly by the external environment. Defrosting, sticking of the product and changing defect conditions are known issues when testing IQF products. Normal operating temperature in IQF production facilities is around 5°F, but we can set our cold room as low as -2°F,” says Wim Van Doren, sales application manager. “Our investment in this cold room allows our customers to see the sorting line in realistic circumstances, and see first-hand the capabilities of our machines operating in these severe conditions.”

Should TOMRA need to test its machines in a hot climate, special heaters can warm the room from its standard -2°F to 60°F.

The cold room is attached to the company’s existing test and demonstration hall by glass windows. The entrance boasts a large roll-up gate that enables large sorting machines to be moved in and out easily.

“The cold room can be implemented as well for long-term validations/trials of sorting machines for R&D purposes to serve our customers even better,” adds Van Doren. 

In June 2014, TOMRA Sorting Solutions installed its first cold room in its state-of-the-art Sacramento, Calif., facility. TOMRA runs 15 test and demonstration centers worldwide, providing services for the development of sensor-based sorting projects for the food industry. Six of the 15 sorting solution centers are solely focused on food with each providing different food testing possibilities.