In response to travel restrictions arising from COVID-19, TOMRA Food is now offering online demonstrations of its sorting machines. This new initiative makes it possible for customers to test-run TOMRA’s machines without visiting TOMRA in person. Here we share answers to frequently asked questions about these online demonstrations.
Why has TOMRA Food introduced online demonstrations?
Customers can best judge a sorter’s effectiveness by running their own produce through the machine. To facilitate this, for years now, TOMRA has run machine demonstrations for customers at its Test and Demonstration Centers, using the customers’ infeed materials or sourcing materials very similar to those the customer has to work with. Before and during these tests, TOMRA works closely with the customer to fine-tune the machine to solve the customer’s particular challenges. The customer witnesses the entire test run, the results are precisely quantified, and the benefits are clear to see.
These demonstrations have proved so helpful to customers and are such a transparent way of proving machine-effectiveness that TOMRA was determined to keep them going. Hence the introduction in 2020 of online demonstrations.
What exactly is an online demonstration?
Online demonstrations are run the same way they would be if the customer was on the premises to witness the test-run in person. Because the customer is watching from another location, the test-run is filmed and streamed securely via the internet. Live pictures are shown from five or six cameras and the machine’s control screen. One camera is positioned to give an overview of the machine; three cameras are located in fixed positions to record infeed, accepted, and rejected materials; one shows the screen view; and another camera is mobile, so that it can be moved around during the test to show points of interest. Customers are encouraged to direct the second camera to look at the aspects of the test they particularly want to see.
The customer and TOMRA’s engineers talk with each other throughout the test. The engineers explain every action and control input they are taking, and the customer can ask questions and direct the mobile camera. The streamed images are recorded, and the recording is supplied to the customer after the demonstration. This means that, if necessary, the demonstration can later be shared more widely with stakeholders in the decision-making process.
Which machines can be demonstrated, and for which types of produce?
TOMRA welcomes inquiries about all product categories and all its sorting machines. It is worth noting, however, that while many types of produce can clearly be seen during video-streaming, some types of produce may not be as clearly visible as when witnessed in person. For example, the smallness and subtle color variations of sesame seeds means that they cannot be seen quite so clearly during a live-stream. Nevertheless, the test can be viewed in full, and the results are precisely quantified.
Can demonstrations be viewed from anywhere?
Yes, anywhere the internet connection is reliable enough for live-streaming. (If the connection should unexpectedly falter, at least every second of the test is recorded.) Before the demonstration, customers are provided with a step-by-step guide on how to call-connect. Customers are also provided with detailed advice about what to expect during the demonstration and how to get the most from it.
Where do the demonstrations actually take place?
TOMRA is currently running online demonstrations from its Test and Demonstration Centers in Leuven, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; Sacramento, USA; Santiago, Chile; Xiamen, China; and Bangalore, India.
Does TOMRA charge anything for running demonstrations?
No, TOMRA runs demonstrations for customers and potential customers free of charge. But these test-runs demand a time commitment from both sides, not only during the test itself but also in preparation for it. Arrangements have to be made to obtain the customer’s infeed materials (or materials very similar to the customer’s). Before setting up the machine, TOMRA will ask detailed questions about the operational challenges the customer wants to solve.
Does TOMRA still run ‘real’ rather than online demonstrations?
Yes, when customers and engineers can travel safely to a machine location. Demonstrations can still be viewed in person at TOMRA’s Test and Demonstration Centers.
How does a customer or potential customer request an online demonstration?
Virtual demonstrations can be requested online via our website or by talking with TOMRA’s local sales manager.