Sensor-based food sorting solutions pioneer TOMRA Sorting Solutions, which creates sensor-based technologies for sorting, peeling and process analytics, has appointed Ashley Hunter as senior vice president and head of its food business. In his new role, based primarily in Leuven, Belgium, Hunter will oversee all activity conducted worldwide by TOMRA Sorting Food.
Hunter was previously head of TOMRA’s food division in the Americas and Oceania, mainly based in Sacramento, Calif. He had held that position since 2010, when his former employer, Odenberg, became part of TOMRA. The latter’s food offering was enhanced further last year when it acquired Belgian-based BEST Sorting.
“We have more than 7,000 machines installed worldwide, augmented by an unrivaled global service network, and these factors undoubtedly give us very significant competitive advantages, but much important work remains to be done,” said Hunter. “There are still synergies to be released from the amalgamation of our two outstanding legacy food companies, for example, in terms of technology, experience, sales and distribution, and I’m determined that these advantages will be maximized in the months and years ahead.
“I also want to ensure that our food customers benefit to the greatest extent possible from TOMRA also containing specialist mining and recycling divisions. We’re seeing evidence of these advantages being spread across frontiers through the introduction of our unique biometric signature identification technology, originally developed for our recycling arm, into our own Nimbus, Halo and Field Product Sorter machines, for example, but there’s much more progress of this kind to be made in the future.”
Hunter grew up in Ireland and obtained a first-class honors degree in engineering awarded by Trinity College in Dublin. He then held management positions in manufacturing and in technical sales of capital equipment before joining Odenberg in 1994 as its U.S. engineering manager. He became president of Odenberg’s U.S. business three years later, a role he held until the TOMRA merger.
Hunter has served as chairman and a board member of the U.S. Food Processing Suppliers Association, one of the most influential trade associations in the North American food industry.