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Automated box tipper designed to eliminate manual labor

A Washington based equipment manufacturer has designed and built an automated box tipper. The box tipper, called "ABT-40 Automatic Box Tipper" is specifically designed for re-packers that receive imported fruit and need to add that fruit to the line to be graded and bagged. Where this has been manually done by workers tipping the boxes themselves, the idea is to perform this function by machine, practically eliminating the need for manual labor for this task. 

"Most citrus re-pack lines utilize 1-2 people to dump boxes of fruit," said Josh Logsdon of Haley Manufacturing, the company that makes the ABT-40. "This job can be very strenuous as well as limit production as workers fatigue throughout the day. We have designed the ABT-40 to eliminate this need and let the machine tip the boxes automatically and efficiently. The only reason a person is needed is to load boxes from a pallet on to the in-feed conveyor to feed the ABT-40."

Fundamental operation
The ABT-40 is a fairly simple idea and operates accordingly. Once the worker loads the boxes onto the in-feed conveyor, the machine takes over and dumps the contents of the box onto the line. The entire tipping process from the in-feed to the box conveyer is fully automated. 

"The ABT-40 indexes boxes of fruit into position, clamps the box to the tip plate and then rotates it about 120 degrees to release the fruit onto a transfer plate and roller inspection table," Logsdon explained. "It then rotates back into position and discharges the box to a box conveyor. The next box indexes into position and the process repeats itself."

Logsdon added that the machine has a relatively small footprint and described the cycle times per hour. "The ABT-40 fits into a small footprint at the front of the line very easily," he pointed out. "The machine capacity is dependent upon the type of fruit being run through the machine. However, for citrus the ABT-40 can cycle 9300lbs per hour or more."

Working with other fruit on the line
Haley Manufacturing said it thought about how re-packers process the fruit and built the ABT-40 to allow for other fruit that may already be running on the line. The machine has sensors that tells it when to dump so as not to overload the conveyor, as Logsdon explained. "It utilizes sensors and photo eyes to sense the amount of fruit on the inspection table. These sensors tell the tipper how frequently to tip fruit and how fast. Thus allowing the table to maintain a constant, steady flow that matches the workers that are inspecting it."

Additionally, the machine can be adjusted to the most appropriate operation for production. The functions that can be adjusted include how the boxes flow, the speed boxes are tipped and size of boxes. "We built the machine with servo stepping motors that certainly cost more money but allow for these functions to be adjusted easily," Logsdon shared. "In comparison to traditional cylinders and shafts we can adjust very easily to changing packaging conditions."

Focus on citrus for now, plans for more items
Currently, Haley Manufacturing are working with citrus re-packers that process citrus from the southern hemisphere. In the future, however, they see the ABT-40 utilized for a number of different produce items. 

"At the moment our focus is to work directly with citrus accounts that need to dump and inspect citrus," Logsdon noted. "This is predominantly re-packers that import citrus from the southern hemisphere. "Although we are focusing on citrus now, we certainly expect it will work for onions, kiwi, avocados and other imported fruit from the southern hemisphere."

For more information:
Josh Logsdon
Haley Manufacturing
Tel: +1 (509) 480-1501

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