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TOMRA Food Introduces Advanced Pet Food Sorting Solutions


March 18, 2019

Press release: TOMRA Food

TOMRA Food, the leading manufacturer of sensor-based sorting machines for the food industry, has become the first to provide advanced sorting solutions for pet food producers. By developing four new sorting applications of its proven technologies, TOMRA has made it possible for pet food manufacturers to easily remove even very small particles of foreign materials from dry meat and bone meal, ground frozen meat, biscuits residue, and dry kibble.

All four new sorting applications have been validated over the last two years at TOMRA facilities as well as in real-world working conditions at pet food manufacturing plants in Europe and the United States. By recalibrating sorting machines originally designed to ensure the purity of food for human consumption, extensive tests have identified the best TOMRA equipment for specific pet food sorting tasks and have arrived at the optimal configurations for sorting efficiency and product yield.

Contamination risk can be high in pet food because of the nature of the raw materials. Dry meat and bone meal, derived from offal (animal by-products) collected at slaughterhouses, can contain all kinds of foreign bodies. Ground frozen meat for wet pet food is also derived from offal. Biscuits residue, an ingredient for dry kibble, can contain plastic or cardboard from wrappers and boxes. And if dry kibble storage silos are not completely emptied before refilling, there can be cross-contamination of Stock Keeping Units (product types).

Solutions tailored to different pet food types

All TOMRA’s in-line pet food sorting solutions can handle the high throughputs that are necessary in the pet food processing industry. With TOMRA’s wide range of mechanical platforms and optical sensors, it has been possible to tailor sorting solutions for the specific challenges of creating pet food with frozen ground meat, dry meat, bone meal, and dry kibble.

The sorting machines are very robust and can deal with harsh, wet or dry and dusty environments. The optical sensors which inspect the product streams have diverse capabilities and differentiate between the good product and the foreign material or cross-contamination based on color, structure or composition. Air-valves on the platforms remove undesired material with precise and powerful air bursts, keeping the processor’s yield to an absolute maximum. A video of one of the new applications, for dry meat and bone meal sorting, can be viewed here.

TOMRA’s in-line pet food sorting solutions take away the need for rework. They run at the same consistency for 24 hours per day and seven days per week and make manual inspection superfluous.

Because these highly efficient optical sorters enhance the quality of the product, they can significantly reduce claims and product recalls in a highly competitive industry. More than this, TOMRA’s advanced sorting solutions bring brand protection to the pet food industry and will be a cornerstone in driving brand loyalty.

Bjorn Thumas, Business Development Director at TOMRA Food, commented: “As the humanization and premiumization of pet food shows, customers have increasingly high expectations about pet food quality. New applications of TOMRA’s sorting technologies now make it possible for pet food producers to easily and reliably meet the demands for higher quality and product safety. TOMRA’s sorting solutions are well-proven with numerous food types, such as potatoes, nuts, vegetables, and fruit, and applying our technologies to pet food is a logical progression.”

TOMRA personnel will be on hand to explain more about these new applications at the Petfood Forum in Kansas City, Missouri, USA (29 April – 1 May) and at IFFA at the Frankfurt Messe, Germany (4 – 9 May).

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