Automation plays a key role in several applications that Unitec applies for their systems. According to the company, clients are happy with their investment after deciding to go for these automated systems as their lines ‘pay for themselves’ in a short time. Due to the pandemic in the world, some investments by companies are being postponed, while simultaneously demand for automated sorting and packing lines is going up.
Unitec’s worldwide presence in sorting lines has led to systems being automated. According to Angelo Benedetti, president of Unitec, there’s more to come in robotic systems, replacing physical work done by workers: “We have several applications that use automated systems with robotics, from the feeding stages of the lines to the final packing where the robots replace the work physically done by personnel. Soon new technologies will come out from our Research and Development department, which will help our customers make many of their current processes more efficient.”
Next to being able to use a lesser amount of workers for the same job, automation also means an increase in production efficiency itself. Especially while the pandemic is a threat, limiting personnel on the lines is essential, Benedetti explains. “One of the main goals with which our systems are designed and manufactured is precisely to increase production efficiency and reduce the labor need of the packing houses. Today it’s essential to limit personnel on the lines in order to reduce the risk of product contamination. Moreover, it is difficult to find specialized and qualified personnel for manual selection, so the automation of the lines is becoming more and more important. Thanks to their high level of automation, Unitec solutions allow to process, select and pack high volumes of fresh fruit and vegetables with the help of very few personnel on the lines, with an important cost reduction.”
Replacing a packing or sorting line seems can seem like a large investment. Benedetti states that Unitec’s clients see their investment’s return rather fast: “Our lines ‘pay for themselves’ in a short time with the results and benefits they bring to our customers: it is not a slogan, it’s a reality. Every day our lines bring benefits to our customers, generating tangible results: increase in efficiency and production capacity, reduction in processing and labor costs, increase in reliability and accuracy of internal and external quality selection, etc. The companies that choose our technologies can give reliable answers to large distribution, to their customers, thanks to the possibility, on the one hand, to divide the product into multiple quality classes, each able to meet the different demands of large distribution and the different tastes of the final consumer,”
“On the other hand, they can achieve product classes that, within them, are characterized by a qualitative homogeneity otherwise unthinkable. Unitec customers agree that the investment in these technologies has reduced to a minimum the disputes due to discrepancies between the product agreed with the distributor and the one delivered. The product classified with these technologies is a product that does not disappoint, that does not reserve surprises. Our customers can thus increase their competitiveness, improve the reputation of their brand, making it stronger and more reliable, thus establishing more lasting relationships of trust with the large distribution and with all their customers, increasing their market share.” Benedetti says.
Companies that already use a Unitec line, can always opt to add more robotic or other features, Benedetti says: “Each of our installations can be integrated with new functions; both for robotic automation and for other functions that are made available through the technological innovation of our world and that our Research and Development center makes available to our customers every year. All this is made very easy thanks to the fact that all the technologies that Unitec supplies to its customers are 100% designed, manufactured, and marketed by Unitec itself.”
Covid-19 has had an effect on most industries in the world, and Unitec felt the impact as well: “There have been investments that have been postponed by the packing houses due to Covid-19 and today there is a widespread fear of the future in the world due to this pandemic. However, at the same time, a greater propensity to demand more automation has developed. The customer packing houses that use our lines can count on respecting the appropriate distances between workers, both because they have been integrated with specific devices, but especially because the various automations that compose the lines require a very low number of people.”
Unitec has a global presence, but has been able to stay in touch and help their clients without problems. Although travel is difficult with the lockdowns and other flight restrictions, Benedetti takes pride in Unitec’s ability to keep their customer service level high: “Today more than ever, in this year of such tight restrictions on travel, our technical and commercial organization has been ready to respond professionally to the needs of our customers. Obviously with many difficulties, but with the enthusiasm that distinguishes us, we have not left one customer without being able to work properly, not even one hour. We have a series of operative branches in all the countries with the highest fruit and vegetable vocation in the world. Washington, California and Oregon in the USA, France, Spain, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, Australia and Canada; which allow us to be close to our customers, even in this difficult period. With our specialized personnel, we’re able to connect to the individual needs of our customers on all continents, remotely as well as physically, thus ensuring the functionality of our lines at their installations and allowing them to continue to work with maximum efficiency. The message we send our customers is very positive: never feel alone, you can count on us, our experience, our support, our innovation and remember that ‘We work for your results.’ he concludes.
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