ImpacTrack shock sensor range
expands further

Root crop, fruit, and vegetable wastage makes up an estimated 40-50% of global food waste, according to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP). A large percentage of this waste occurs during the post-harvest stage of production, so the urgent need for more efficient post-harvest methods to protect food supplies in an uncertain world has never been more evident.

In response to such high levels of food waste, coupled with huge financial losses, UK-based crop quality specialists Martin Lishman Ltd developed the award-winning ImpacTrack – a shock sensing data logger with an extensive range of dummy food shapes that replicate the movement characteristics of fruit and vegetables during handling and transport.

Following a request from a processing facility in Costa Rica, the company recently introduced a pineapple to the ever-growing list of shapes. The shape, including the leaves of the crown, was created using the very latest in 3D printing techniques and materials to accurately mimic its real counterpart. This has been followed by the addition of a sweet potato, gala melon, and coconut to the line-up.

The ImpacTrack pineapple shape is easily spotted amongst its real counterparts
The ImpacTrack pineapple shape is easily spotted amongst its real counterparts

“The ImpacTrack sensor is housed in a carrier shell designed to meet specific requirements”, explains Gavin Lishman, Managing Director of Martin Lishman Ltd. “We can match the size, shape and density of real produce in order to reproduce the movement characteristics of produce prone to damage and bruising during handling and transport, and therefore get as close as possible to a realistic representation of impact ‘black spots’ in handling machinery.”

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. Data from the ImpacTrack is transmitted in real time using Bluetooth to Martin Lishman’s “ML Sensing” smartphone App, making it ideal 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.

“The ImpacTrack gives the user an objective insight into how fresh produce is being handled, highlighting impacts that would be very difficult to see with the naked eye”, adds Gavin Lishman. “The cost savings from some slight machine adjustments can be significant; given that the cost of the unit is relatively low it represents an unrivalled return on investment in this category of quality control”.

The ImpacTrack logger is encased in a shell which mimics the dimensions, shape, weight and density of the real produce
The ImpacTrack logger is encased in a shell which mimics the dimensions, shape, weight and density of the real produce

Martin Lishman has worked with growers and producers to create more than 32 different ImpacTrack shapes, including 8 different apple versions, 3 avocado sizes, clementine, mango 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. Thanks to Martin Lishman’s experienced in-house design team, new shapes with many different sizes, weights and shapes are constantly being created.

Now in its 4th year of use by the industry, ImpacTrack has become a reliable tool in helping users to adjust their processing and handling lines to significantly reduce spoilage and save ‘000s in wastage costs.

The Martin Lishman team will be attending this year’s Fruit Logistica event held in Berlin from April 6-8, which after 2 years of cancellations will be an excellent opportunity to meet face to face once again and see the latest developments in the ImpacTrack range. Find them in Hall 8.2, stand A-08.

For more information on the ImpacTrack, CLICK HERE

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