Top Control is an Italian based company which operates around the world providing weighing, packaging, labelling and storage management systems to fresh produce companies.
The company is particularly active in the South African grape packing industry where it provides weighing systems on pack lines.
“Our weighing systems help reduce giveaway and monitor activity on the packing lines. Supermarkets expect correct pack weights and we can ensure that giveaway is as low as 2-3% which is within the boundary of water loss etc,” explains Jason Glue, Sales Manager at Top Control. “We have weighing and labelling software and can offer a complete solution. The weighing systems work a traffic light system for easy operation, it can tell also tell the operator how much product to add or remove to get the correct weight this increases the speed of packing.”
Compared to other countries labour is readily available and relatively cheap in South Africa, but producers are still looking to reduce costs as much as possible especially since the recent minimum wage increase. The global pandemic has also necessitated social distancing in packhouses so businesses need to be able to do this while remaining viable.
“In South Africa producers are still looking to reduce labour costs as there are multiple demands on the sector when selling overseas. In order to do this better technology is required to increase the speed of packing and labelling and also to ensure accuracy. Producers also need to develop to keep up to speed with European and US producers. We work very closely with our customers to discuss their needs and how we can help them develop.
“Top Control can install a complete system where particular orders can be set up throughout the system to generate the correct packing weight, align the correct labelling, this is all done automatically.”
In Europe Top Control has installed storage systems for apple producers and in Chile for the cherry industry. These systems monitor all the produce, which is in storage, so the producer knows exactly where each pallet is stored, when it was harvested and if it has been pre-sorted or not. It works on a First-in-first-out basis so the producer can see how long each pallet has been in storage and nothing is in storage for too long.
“The system is unique to Top Control and uses laser guided forklifts which are fitted with tracking devices. The storage rooms are digitally mapped which enables producers to track every pallet.”
“We provide a high level of service aftercare to all of our customers around the world with our own people on the ground or in partnership with local companies.”