UK-based crop quality specialists Martin Lishman Ltd, the company behind ImpacTrack – a shock-sensing data logger encased within a family of dummy food shapes that replicate the movement characteristics of fruit and vegetables during handling and transport – is now supplying a major European mango processing facility with an ImpacTrack sensor that mimics the size and shape of the most common mango variety sold in supermarkets.
The ‘mango’ has recently completed production and adds yet another shape to the ImpacTrack library. The ImpacTrack shock sensor and logger monitors damage to fresh produce caused by handling and transport operations. As such, it can help to reduce food production waste, monitor transport and logistics and improve quality control systems.
The ImpacTrack logger is enclosed in a shell that mimics the dimensions, shape, weight and density of the real produce – in this case, a mango – to ensure it behaves and reacts (including floating in water) in the same way as real produce.
Globally, 40-50% of food waste per year is accounted for by root crops, fruits, and vegetables according to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP). A large percentage of this waste occurs during the post-harvest stage of production, presenting a huge challenge to the food industry. By recording the journey through handling and packing processes, ImpacTrack users can make modifications to reduce the amount of food wasted because of damage such as bruising.
Introduced to the industry three years ago, initially to mimic a potato, ImpacTrack has since helped countless growers and producers worldwide adjust their processing and handling lines to significantly reduce spoilage.
Real-time impact data from handling equipment and transportation
Data from the ImpacTrack is transmitted in real time using Bluetooth to Martin Lishman’s ‘ML Sensing’ smartphone app for on-site analysis of handling equipment. Operators can also use the app to record the journey of fresh produce during shipping and other transport methods. The data is downloaded at the end of the journey and provides a record of any impacts sustained. As well as helping to improve transport packaging, this can provide insurers with evidence of where damage has taken place.
“Digital agtech solutions, leading to more efficient post-harvest methods, do not need to cost the earth and can be very effective,” explained Dr Lishman, managing director of Martin Lishman Ltd. “We have sold a similar product, the well-trusted TuberLog electronic potato to farmers and processors for many years and it continues to be a vital tool for testing harvesters and grading lines. Bringing a similar device into the fruit industry was a logical step for us to take.”
Martin Lishman has worked with growers and producers worldwide to create an extensive range of 25 ImpacTrack shapes, including eight different apple versions, four different avocado sizes, clementine and even mussels. Shapes can be made to a customer’s specific requirements, to ensure that the dummy produce behaves and reacts (including floating in water) in the same way as the real produce being processed and the data recorded is as accurate as possible. The company’s experienced in-house design team is constantly creating new prototypes with many different sizes, weights and shapes.
Martin Lishman Ltd manufactures and distributes specialist agricultural equipment, with an emphasis on crop storage and quality monitoring, potato and fruit quality control, compact sprayers and cultivation wearing parts.