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How BSI+ detects the tiniest pinhole damage in almonds

The most frustrating challenges for almond producers lie around detecting the tiniest defects and removing these nuts from production. Many inspection systems simply are not sensitive enough to spot the tiniest pinhole damage, making rework by human inspectors unavoidable.

In such a discerning market, where customers demand less than 1% serious damage, it’s hardly surprising that almond producers are demanding more from their inspection processes. It’s also why many are turning to TOMRA’s newest version of biometric signature identification (BSI+).

Pinhole defects, whether caused by the Californian navel orange worm, the Australian carpofogous beetle or the Spanish stink bug, are notoriously difficult to spot as It is only the size of a “pin-hole”

Almond pinhole detection

Even though a pinhole defect is tiny it still counts as insect damage and it’s critical that these nuts are removed form the final product. Until very recently, human inspection was still the method of choice, with machine inspection simply too primitive to be effective. But with shortage of labor a growing concern, human inspection is become too costly and unreliable a solution.  Not to mention, most people can’t see pinhole damage on a moving belt.

The good news is that technology has now vastly overtaken the human eye. BSI+ inspection systems can detect even the tiniest pinhole defects while the nut is in freefall. Almond producers using this new technology are achieving an even greater competitive edge than they had anticipated.


Why TOMRA has won awards for its BSI technology

The latest BSI+ scanner removes foreign material and also detects even tiny visual irregularities while the nuts are in freefall. It deploys a wider imaging spectrum to achieve these groundbreaking results, improving quality and yield and reducing waste.


Almond sorting


NIMBUS BSI+ detects tiny defects, and carpophlis beetle bites

TOMRA is working with partners and clients to create the best possible inspection solution, made intelligent through digital connectivity and smart use of secure data.

Tim Orr, Ops manager at Bright Light Agribusiness:

“TOMRA’s BSI+ technology made the difference. Especially TOMRA’s ability to target insect damage – not only major damage, but also the pinhole carpophilus-beetle bites – was a real eye-opener. And with TOMRA already using such technology in Australia during the 2018 season, we were able to combine laboratory testing with real field data. The BSI+ technology also delivered outstanding results on other, often challenging almond defects such as doubles, gummy-nuts, immature, molded, and stains.”


Great product quality, less waste and better work rate

Family-run Spanish business, Frupinsa, processes almonds from the farmers across the Ebro region. In addition to their established TOMRA sorting equipment, they installed a NIMBUS BSI+ inspection system.

Miguel Borrás, industrial engineer at Frupinsa, says,

“TOMRA really gives us a very good performance.  The version we have is also provided with a rear laser to ensure full effectiveness. We have noticed a great increase in quality, because we know that the final product is free of impurities.

We’ve simplified a lot of the process because there is much less mechanical damage. Our clients are the first beneficiaries, and we have greater agility that allows us to adapt to their needs in our work. TOMRA also ensures we comply with the highest food standards.”


Topics: Defect Sorting, Nuts, almonds, bsi, pinhole

Brendan O'Donnell

Written by Brendan O'Donnell

Brendan O'Donnell, Global Category Director (Nuts) at TOMRA Food, is also a member of the INC Scientific and Government Affairs Committee – a collection of academics and industry experts who work collaboratively to monitors scientific and technical issues related to international and supranational regulations, food safety and agricultural quality standards.