A new avocado packline for Tzaneen-based Afrupro has just been commissioned in George, Southern Cape, with a capacity of around 150 bins per day.
The avocado packline in George, running Pinkertons across the line (photos supplied by Flowpack Systems)
The line employs AME VersaSort cup sizers. “Versasort is a very good pear machine,” says Johnny van Zyl, managing director of AME Fruitsizers, responsible for the project. “It is widely used in the pear industry and for that reason it’s very suitable for avocados, because of the shape. In fact, the line was trialled on Pinkertons, which are probably the hardest avocado to grade because of its size and shape.”
AME Fruitsizers currently has six avocado packlines running in South Africa, much of it in Mpumalanga, with another four lane machine due to be installed next month in an avocado packhouse near Nelspruit.
“We’ve got an exceptionally good weighing unit with great accuracy of weight measurement, to the closest gram. We use Ellips True Sort electronics and software from the Netherlands, which are the global leaders in fruit grading software, we incorporate Ellips on all of our grading machines which gives us continuity through all of our packlines. We also have the capability to install full quality grading on our lines if required."
Ellips True Sort, the electronics & software employed by AME Fruitsizers on all projects
“We try and keep things simple with ease of repair and maintenance,” he continues, “although obviously the electronics and the software are very advanced. It’s not a difficult machine to maintain. We have a strong engineering base and a lot of our machines have been running for close to twenty years. Most farmers and packers like being hands-on with their own equipment, apart from a major service once a year, and for them it’s very important to have as little downtime as possible.”
“We hold stock of all the parts in our factory in Grabouw, so parts are available immediately, ensuring downtime during the packing season is kept to a minimum.”
AME Fruitsizers has installed many packlines across South Africa – tomato lines in East London, avocado lines in Mpumalanga, apple lines in the Free State, apart from their strong footprint in the apple and pear industry of the Western Cape.
An avocado packline in Mpumalanga, another AME Fruitsizers project
There has been some interest from Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania.
“This year people have realised the value of the farmer again and there is a lot of outside investment coming into agriculture. I think it’s good for the future. Our rainfall is back to normal, I think we’re in for a good cycle in agriculture and fruit specifically."