GREEFA and MED Automation pre-sorting line

South Africa: Betko at forefront with compact pre-sorter

One of the Western Cape’s foremost apple producers has installed a state of the art pre-sorting line, supplied by GREEFA and MED Automation. The technique involves high-speed sorting of apples before they are packed or stored in a controlled atmosphere.

Wiekus Venter of MED Automation says the sizer on the farm Betko near Villiersdorp is one of the most space and capacity efficient in South Africa. This 10-lane pre-sorter will sort apples at high speed, not only according to colour, size, shape and weight, but also according to internal quality.

Venter says the line had to be installed within a confined space of approximately 25m x 50m but MED Automation and GREEFA rose to the challenge with a lay-out that incorporates all the necessary components and product flows.

“Pre-sorters need specialist operators but also release hands to deal with increases throughput on the packing lines after pre-sorting,” Venter explains.

He is confident about GREEFA’s position at the top end of the fruit-sorting sector. “Our products are designed and built with a clear focus on gentle handling and exceptional quality sorting. This becomes evident if you look at the components. Vacuum bin fillers and the soft placing of fruit on belts all contribute to continued quality. Producers can rest assured that they will get the product to the market in the same state as they were picked off the tree.

Venter also remains proud of the role that their automatic bin washers have been playing in this process since their South African design and manufacture last year. South African producers have previously been relying on imported automatic bin washers to ensure sparkling clean bins for a pristine start. But enormous importation costs have been a drawback and producers who could not afford these had to rely on labour- and water intensive cleaning of bins with high pressure hoses, sometimes only at the end of the season.

Three models are available and units have already been installed by leading fruit exporters who are aware of the need to meet newly introduced specifications for fruit quality.

“We all know that a dirty bin can lead to contamination and soil or other dirt may also cause physical damage. The development and production of our affordable bin washers enable us to serve a larger portion of the market, who will now find it easier to take these risks out of packaging,” says Venter.

Two models wash the inside and outside of bins and a third has been designed for bottom wash. Washers can be installed as part of a line or as separate units. Up to 100 bins –sizes ranging from 1000 x 1200 x 735 mm to 1300 x 250 x 850 mm– can be washed in one hour. “The fact that wastewater can be filtered and recycled is a huge plus,” says Venter.

For more information:
MED Automation

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