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How BSI+ Technology detects tiny embedded almond shell fragments

Fragments of shell becoming embedded in almond flesh is an unavoidable effect of the shelling process. Some types of almonds are more prone than others due to water content of the nut and hardness of shell.  Unfortunately for processors, embedded shell is classified as foreign material.  With confectionary companies demanding less and less foreign material, embedded shell has become one of the most focused on defects to remove.  Many confectionary companies require less than 5 pieces of foreign material per ton.  To put this into perspective, there are approximately 1 Million almonds in one metric ton, so to ask for less than 5 pieces to have embedded shell is an enormous request.

While fragmented shells will always be a regrettable outcome of the shelling process, it is critical to almond producers that they ensure all nuts with embedded shell fragments are removed from the production line prior to shipment.

With the latest biometric signature identification (BSI) inspection technology, they can achieve this more quickly, with less rework and fewer manual inspectors than ever before.  Due to the higher resolution, this VERY small defect is easily detected.

Almond and BSI+

Why award-winning BSI+ inspection is a game-changer for almond producers

From launch, BSI technology proved itself as a game-changer. BSI+, the most advanced version, deploys a wider spectrum than standard BSI, detecting even the slightest defects at the speed of light, while the nuts are in freefall.

BSI technology detects the biometric characteristics of nuts. It is the next generation of spectral imaging, originally developed to identify a material’s unique fingerprint.


Almonds might be in greater demand than ever, but the industry is also experiencing unprecedented challenges. Shifting climate conditions and a shortage of human labor is making it difficult for almond producers to maximize profits, even as the demand for their crop surges.

Eliminating human inspection is the obvious answer. Yet, until recently, machine inspection was not up to the same level of ability as the human eye. Biometric signature identification (BSI) has changed that.


TOMRA’s BSI technology has been winning awards since 2015, when it was awarded INC’s prestigious Innovation Award. It continues to lead the pack in research and development of this game-changing technology. See embedded shell fragments in almonds the way BSI+ sees them


Product quality, less waste and better work rate with TOMRA BSI+

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.”

Almonds Nimbus BSI


Pack-to-grade almond quality in a single pass with minimal human labor

Bright Light Agribusiness is one of the largest and fastest growing private companies in Australia. It grows and processes almonds for markets around the world. They are using BSI+ technology as part of their TOMRA sorting systems to create one of the most efficient production lines ever.

Tim Orr, Operations Manager at Bright Light Agribusiness, explains, “At Bright Light, we pride ourselves on high quality products and exceeding our customers’ expectations. We think longer-term and consequently we went through a rigorous process to select our preferred option from the different sorting solutions out there.

The concept that we have put together will deliver us a pack-out product with the least amount of human interaction and reprocessing, which is traditionally required to make grade.”



Topics: Sorter, Nuts, almonds, bsi

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.