Cutting young strawberry plants, easily, fast, clean, uniform, and without noise. With these requirements, Mecaflor, a French manufacturer of machines and accessories for the horticulture and cut flowers industries, started designing their first "strawberry plant cutting machine", after receiving a request from a French grower.
After months of work, the machine is now running at full speed at the grower, cutting 19,500 plants per hour and 150,000 plants per day with one person. The results are pleasing, and with the increasing labor costs worldwide, Mecaflor sees high potential worldwide. "It is operated by only one person who adjusts the cutting length, fills the buckets, and collects the cut plants," explains Mecaflor's Marc Molitor.
In October, for example, it will be presented along with their bouquet machines at the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans.
The video below clearly illustrates the process.
The machine processes 2000 buckets per hour – each bucket can be filled with 15 plants – at a constant speed and the cutting height can be adjusted from 45 to 95mm (1.7 to 3.7 inches).
How does it work
So, how does it work? According to Molitor, it is very easy, "The machine is easy to operate as the control panel is fitted with only three buttons: start, stop, and reset. And as the video above shows, once the cutting height is set, only one operator is required to start the conveyor and fill the bucket. The long roots are then cut from the strawberry plants in a secured cutting unit, and both fall in two different crates in order to be collected".
More work comfort
On top of the speed, consistency, and uniformity, the machine also offers more work comfort, explains Molitor. "Instead of cutting the roots manually with a chopper, the operator only needs to put the strawberry plants in the buckets and collect them at the end. And as the plants are cut with sharp blades positioned like scissors, the noise level decreases to 55 dB-A”.
The machine: dimensions, power, and more
The 3808x828x1580mm machine has a weight of 490 kgs and chassis are fitted with 4 castors to be easily moved (two of them have brakes). The power supply is 208-230V/50-60Hz and the power consumption is 500W.
Exporting the product
Mecaflor installed their first machine at a French grower and are now ready to offer their solution to growers worldwide. "All over the world, we see labor costs increasing. Therefore, I think the potential of this solution will be high in European and North American nurseries." In several countries, they are in touch with local companies that can distribute and service this equipment.
PMA Fresh Summit
Also in the US where labor costs increased sharply over the last years, they have partners in Florida and California present to assist the growers. Eager to learn more about the machine? See the contact details below or visit their booth at the PMA Fresh Summit on October 28-30, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana.