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An innovative fruit ripeness checker, to offer non-destructive testing in order to ensure resource efficient fruit processing - Ripesense (Ripesense)
Start date: 01 Apr 2015, End date: 30 Sep 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Fresh’ fruits for the consumer market can only be sold as such if they are shown to be a certain standard of ‘ripeness’, as judged by the sugar content and firmness. There is great commercial pressure on producers to provide produce which is of the appropriate standard. Apples which do not meet this standard can be sold to the wholesale market or juiced with losses to market value of 50% and 95% respectively, but apples & citrus fruits which are destructively tested are sold as animal feed, composted or sent to landfill. As a result, fruits are tested many times during the production cycle, both in harvesting and distribution. Unfortunately, the most widely used tests for both are destructive tests. This leads to the destruction of between 6 – 8% of harvested apples and approximately 5% of citrus fruits for testing purposes. Worldwide, this would amount to 4.6 – 6.1 million tonnes of apples and 6.6 million tonnes of citrus fruit annually. At average European prices, this represents a combined economic loss of €6.3 – 7.2 billion every year. Ripesense is an innovative solution to this problem. The objective of our project is to develop and produce an automated system capable of non-destructively testing both the firmness and sugar content of fruits, initially apples and citrus fruits.The main benefits of these performance objectives are to provide a system that can:• Replace destructive test methods with non-destructive ‘Ripesense’, reducing waste fruit going to landfill by 50%• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by waste fruit sent to landfill • Reduce customer complaints 30% by using Ripesense frequently to minimise risk of overripe fruit reaching consumer• Reduce time & labour testing fruits for ripeness, enabling a 50% reduction in QC staff for more advantageous deployment • Allow fruits to be optimally distributed to retailers with different quality criteria, further increasing yield efficiency by ~10% apples
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