World's top macadamia processor buys Tomra5C

Macadamias April 29, 2022

Anticipating the need to produce macadamias in even greater quantities while ensuring perfect quality, South African cooperative business, Golden Macadamias has invested in a TOMRA 5C sorting machine with Biometric Signature Identification technology. 

Golden Macadamias' success has been achieved by meeting the stringent quality requirements of export markets to tap into the booming international demand for macadamias.

Attaining the highest product quality with large production volumes has been made possible by investing in the best available technologies. The most recent example of this is Golden Macadamias' acquisition of the new TOMRA 5C premium optical sorting machine, explicitly developed for nut and dried fruit applications.

When this machine is combined with TOMRA's unique Biometric Signature Identification (BSI) scanning technology, it can detect and eject product defects that no other technology can see.

The South African macadamia industry contributes roughly 20–25% of the world's macadamias, expressed as NIS volume (INC). South Africa is the largest contributor, with other significant contributors like Australia, Kenya, and China. 

Macadamias are still seen as a young industry and comprise about 1–2% of the total world tree nut basket, with almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and hazelnuts contributing 95%.

Norman Smith, TOMRA Food area sales manager Africa, said: "Today 98% of the macadamia crop is exported. Approximately 55% of South Africa's macadamias are sold to the kernel market, mostly for export to the USA, Europe, and Asia.

“The other 45% goes to the in-shell market, some for sale domestically but mostly for export to China, where consumers prefer to crack the shells themselves. It is the kernel market which demands the greatest product quality.

“Golden Macadamias controls every aspect of production and insists on world-class standards from all its shareholder farmers. Due to the results shown by the Nimbus BSI+, the business decided to continue developing its partnership with TOMRA as part of its expansion project in South Africa by acquiring 10 TOMRA 3C machines and an additional TOMRA 5C with BSI+ technology.”

Peter Edmondson, General Manager at Golden Macadamias, said, "Our partnership with TOMRA has proved strong throughout the years. It has allowed us to pioneer the ideal processing solution for the macadamias market, where we continuously develop new solutions and technologies."

Mr Smith said the TOMRA 3C eliminates foreign materials, including stones, shells, and sticks, and, depending on the sorting process, can achieve an incredible efficiency of up to 99.5% purity. It is also well-suited to separating shell from kernel with a low giveaway.

“Better still, this machine can do all this while sorting more than 20 tons of nuts per hour – a much higher throughput than any of its competitors,” he said. “The TOMRA 3C can also be used in a second position on the line to remove major discolorations, rotten and mouldy kernel, and any remaining shell.”

"Throughputs and product quality are both very important to us,” Mr Edmondson said. “We currently work two eight-hour shifts five days per week throughout the whole six-to eight-month production season, and our production volumes are continually increasing.

“TOMRA's machines handle this pressure well, and we have been very impressed by the results delivered by BSI+ technology. After cracking and before manual grading, we have been able to halve the level of unsound nuts from 8% to just 4%. No other technology can match this.

"As well as identifying the hard-to-find defects, TOMRA's BSI technology has increased factory throughput by 10%. This means the payback period for the technology will be no longer than about two years."

These results convinced Golden Macadamias to purchase the recently-launched successor to the Nimbus, the TOMRA 5C, the latest platform to use BSI+ technology.

In addition to being developed specifically for the nut and dried fruit industry, Mr Smith said this premium optical sorter will help future-proof Golden Macadamias' production line by connecting to the cloud-based data platform, TOMRA Insight.

Back to news