I was doing some work in a large cooler at a blueberry farm last week. My coworker and I were outside on the deck truck getting our scissor lift ready while he smoked a cigarette and the owner offered a preemptive, “you can’t smoke inside.” My coworker said fine and we went about our business.
What came to mind was the optical sorter that was being operated in the cooler. What machine does is sort berries by colour. The berries are run into a channeled conveyor, single file, and a colour sensor checks that each berry is in spec. If a berry isn’t then a jet of compressed air blows it off the conveyor and into a reject bin.
While working in the cooler, I noticed the new air compressor supplying the sorting machine and wondered if they put food-safe oil in the compressor. Carry-over is a fact of life and if there’s oil in your air compressor then there’s oil in your compressed air; if only a trace….an though the air is blowing directly on rejects, one can’t be too cautious when processing food….
I really wanted to plant that thought in the owner’s head but after the smoking warning he gave it would seem cheeky….and it would be.