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Unitec Celebrates Century of Innovation in Produce Sector

February 22, 2024

This month’s Fruit Logistica in Berlin drew some 2,770 exhibitors and 66,000 trade visitors from around the world to network, reach deals and share recent advances in the produce sector. Among these was Unitec Group, a pioneer in sorting and packing technologies for the fruit and vegetable industry, which is this year celebrating 100 years of groundbreaking innovation. Since its inception in 1924, Unitec has been at the forefront of the development and applications of cutting-edge technologies for selecting and handling produce.


One of Unitec’s three booths at Fruit Logistica.

From its humble beginnings in northern Italy, where the company Dalle Vacche started manufacturing its first mechanical sorters in the 1920s, Unitec has worked hard to meet the evolving needs of produce companies worldwide through a culture of research, experimentation and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

“One hundred years is a timeframe that could make one feel old, but this is not our case,” remarked Angelo Benedetti, president of Unitec. He continued, “The average age of the Unitec team is 35 years and the inspiration and the motivation that our customers around the world give us every day, by trusting us, are a long life elixir for us. We frequently manage to build partnership paths that bring concrete benefits to customers, and this is the positive energy that nourishes us, allowing us to look forward to the next 100 years.”

According to Unitec, the company’s technologies are now able to successfully sort more than 50 types of fruits and vegetables. During Fruit Logistica, the company showcased some of its latest solutions across three dedicated booths.

UNITEC (Hall 4.1/A-10)

  • UNI Smart Tray Filler — An automatic filler for packing various types of fruit, such as apples, nectarines and peaches, in trays or in trays inside crates. This is achieved using an innovative robot with a pick and place function, which can adjust its coordinates for picking and placing based on package size and format.
  • UNICAL 200 Cherry: Cherry Vision 3.5 Ai — Cherry Vision 3.5 Ai uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence models to accurately detect recent cuts and cracks on cherries.
  • UNICAL 222 Berry — This blueberry quality selection system, equipped with Blueberry Vision 3 and UNIQ Blueberry, can completely scan every blueberry for precise and reliable evaluation of both external and internal quality, thus enhancing the organoleptic characteristics of the fruit for consumers while fully preserving integrity.
  • Other UNIQ solutions for internal quality selection — The company also showcased numerous other innovations for the internal quality selection of fruit and vegetables, including UNIQ Apples, UNIQ Apricot, UNIQ Avocados, UNIQ Cherry, UNIQ Cherry Tomato, UNIQ Dates, UNIQ Kiwi, UNIQ Melon, UNIQ Onions, UNIQ Peach, UNIQ Pears, UNIQ Plum, UNIQ Pomegranate and others.
  • UNICAL 222 Hazelnut — A solution for hazelnut sorting, where the Hazelnut Vision system provides significant benefits for the handling and quality selection of hazelnuts (with or without shells and raw or roasted), detecting shape, size, color and defects.


The UNI Smart Tray Filler.


The UNICAL 200 Cherry: Cherry Vision 3.5 Ai.


The UNICAL 222 Hazelnut.

UNISORTING (Hall 4.1/A-20)

  • UNI INTELLIGENT PACK DATES — A robotic solution for packing dates inside punnets, increasing packing efficiency and drastically reducing labor costs.
  • UNI FLOW GENTLE PACKER — A patented solution for packing apples that maximizes efficiency and capacity by the gentle transfer of fruit into trays, using individual suction cups for each apple to preserve fruit integrity.


The UNI FLOW GENTLE PACKER.

UNI ROBOTICS (Hall 4.1/B-10)

  • UNI SMART PAL ROBOT — A robotic cell for highly efficient automated palletization, maximizing efficiency and capacity in the final stages of packing. This system is capable of multiple palletization formats, including different patterns on a single pallet to improve stability.


The UNI SMART PAL ROBOT.

With a century of innovation now under its belt, Unitec has declared its intention to remain committed to driving progress in the produce industry. By leveraging its expertise and embracing and advancing emerging technologies, the company is poised to continue shaping the future of produce handling for years to come.

Images: Unitec (main image and body images two to six), © 2024 Produce Report (body image one)

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