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Largest kiwi sorting plant in Europe inaugurated by Agrintesa
A €5 billion investment, two parallel lines, 32 outlets, pregrading and packaging - these are the characteristics of the new kiwi sorting plant Agrintesa inaugurated on 30th September 2017.
"The plant will enable us to be more competitive by increasing the reliability of our supplies and improve quality. Our processing stages will be more effective, thus reducing costs and adding value to our production," explains Agrintesa President Raffaele Drei.
The video and photos were taken a few days before the inauguration during testing
Feeding with bins. Traceability starts in the field
"The new plant is dedicated to golden G3 (SunGold) kiwis, part of an important production and commercial agreement signed between the cooperative and Zespri. In addition to G3 kiwis, the facility will also package green kiwis until the end of May as well as plums and apricots in summer. This way, the warehouse will work all year round. The new processing line, manufactured by Sermac, is a cutting-edge system for what concerns the sorting of external defects and the internal quality of fruits," explains Agrintesa Director Cristian Moretti.
"In an increasingly competitive global market, the quality that reaches consumers is what makes the difference. It would be useless having the best produce in the fields if we weren't able to bring it to consumer tables unchanged."
Fine dust suction hood
This is not a classic plant, it's an evolution developed precisely for this very delicate fruit, especially since golden kiwis are more delicate than green kiwis anyway due to the fact they are more ripe.
All fruits are "photographed" and a software system sorts them by scrapping those with external defects. It can also divide batches according to internal quality/ripeness. Should clients require it, they can receive a Usb stick with the photos of all the fruits.
One of the two lines
"The system can fully sample the fruit collected from members, so producers will be paid according not just to the quality of a few representative fruits, but of everything."
Sorted produce before packaging
A new internal analysis lab was also set up and dedicated to Luciano Matteucci, who worked for the group for 40 years and helped develop refrigerated storage techniques. The system was co-financed by the regional development plan within Measure 4.2.
Bin storage space
"It's currently the most powerful plant in Europe thanks to its 8+8 lines and 32 outlets. The packaging line is made up of two parallel systems and can process up to 18-20 tons an hour. The quality system detects all variables and external defects as well as the internal quality of each single fruit (soft parts, dents, insect damage, rot, over-ripeness)."
Sticker, labelling and traceability processes are entirely automated, making it possible to constantly check single fruits until they reach final customers.
"We also installed two rapid cooling tunnel to manage the produce destined to exports overseas and 1,200 storage pallet places. In addition, the 44 storage units have been equipped with new ethylene absorbers and humidifiers.
Agrintesa grows green kiwis on 1900 hectares and golden kiwis on 550 hectares (expected to reach 750 in 2019). Production reaches 45,000 tons for the former and 25,000 for the latter.
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