Quality control starts at the weighbridge with a new test for whole olives

An easy-to-use analyzer saves valuable time when deciding the quality of deliveries. Olive pomace and paste can also be tested.


A handy new analyzer called the OliveScan™ 2 helps olive oil producers to take control of quality from the moment olives arrive at the mill. 

Deliveries are normally paid for on the basis of weight, but now the OliveScan 2 enables a more sophisticated assessment based on expected oil content and moisture. These key quality parameters can vary according to the growing season and harvest conditions. At the same time, increasingly extreme weather is challenging the quality of incoming olives. Even though olive trees are highly drought resistant, unusually hot weather can have implications for the size of fruit and resulting yield from the press.  


Direct measurement avoids time-consuming sample preparation
The solution is built on near infrared (NIR) analysis and although this is already widely used for olive analysis, the OliveScan 2 makes an important step by reducing the time and work involved in sample preparation.  Previously, it has been necessary to grind the sample before measurement. It is not a complicated operation, but the time factor involved is a problem during the busy harvest period when tractors are queueing impatiently to deliver their loads and get back to the fields to collect more. 

The OliveScan 2 allows direct tests taking just 30 seconds. This sets the scene for on-the-spot payment tests mirroring those used in other food and agri sectors such as grain receival where high performance NIR instruments have provided reliable and rapid tests on incoming grain for decades.  



Looking inside the olives 
The instrument uses a form of NIR analysis called NIR transmission. This penetrates below the skin of the olives to give an immediate and objective measurement that truly represents the sample. Each test consists of up to 18 subsamples that test multiple sections across the sample area. A specially designed high-sided sample cup accommodates the rounded form of olives while giving a good sample bulk for reliable measurements. 



Perfect control of olive paste and oil production
OliveScan 2 is a highly versatile solution in that it can also be used for controlling olive paste and pomace in olive oil production. For instance, after each press, it is valuable to test pomace to understand the level of oil depletion. This helps to decide whether to press the pomace again to achieve optimal oil extraction with best possible use of energy.