Since the 1980s, Maf Roda Agrobotic has largely contributed to the evolution of the fresh fruit and vegetables grading sector by bringing grading machines from mechanical to electronic and automated systems. Maf Roda Agrobotic has also developed the process of pre-sizing in water, allowing its customers to work in two stages with their products for better control of their stocks, cost reduction of their packaging and ensuring them a higher reactivity in response to market orders.
But pre-sizing also has a major asset in its modus operandi: it is automated upon entry of products in the packhouse, with bins being emptied with raw products picked in orchards and with no manipulation of the fruits by operators. The constitution of batches of defined categories is carried out gently and without hand contact, the fruits are transferred in water channels and automatically sent to new bins, automatically cleaned by a bin washer from our range, for their storage in cold-rooms before their packaging according to the received orders.
For the pre-sizing in water process, Maf Roda Agrobotic has been designing and producing water treatment and filtration systems for years, this year with new high performance solutions to fight against possible bacteria and viruses that may come from apples or orchards. Water used to convey apples goes through treatment and filtration units which use UV combined with hydrogen peroxide to remove pesticide residues, then through a disinfection process with chlorine dioxide to allow the water to be preserved without bacteria and viruses. These treatment and filtration units thus maintain conveying water with a quality close to that of drinking water. These solutions also have the advantage of operating with reduced water consumption and of presenting no rejects harmful to the environment.
To ensure a continuous process in order to guarantee product integrity and quality as well as health safety when they are packaged for sale, Maf Roda Agrobotic has designed the Line Pack, an automated robot packing machine. The pre-sized products are automatically packed in the trays to make 1-layer and 2-layer boxes as well as bushels.
Thanks to the orienters, the optical system positions the apples along the stem axis, the best color on top, in order to compose the most uniform trays possible.
Filling of the cells or trays is operated continuously by several robot heads in series, with gentle and controlled picking and placement of the products.
The automated robot packing Line Pack is the efficient and reliable answer to market demand and changes, with operations allowing to avoid any contact between the operator and the product. It allows capacities of up to 320 fruits per minute to be reached, i.e. up to more than 3.5 T / h on a configuration with 10 robots (5 on each side of the grader). And to guarantee at 100% the quality of the apples being packed, all fruit are analysed by the GlobalScan 7 electronic grading system, at the cutting edge of technology, to select only those products with no external defects. This analysis can be optimized with the added use of the internal quality control system IDD4, which will eliminate products with internal defects such as internal browning or water core.
In addition, its supervision is eased by a user-friendly and interactive Human-Machine Interface which makes it possible to easily manage the different packaging formats used in the packhouse.
Currently 4 apple packing lines equipped with the Line Pack have already been installed and are operational in France and abroad.
And new developments are nowadays underway to provide an adapted solution of the Line Pack for automatic packing of peaches and nectarines.