There has been a surge in demand for automation across the fruit and vegetable industry, as growers and packers react to a shortage of labour and are looking at increasing productivity and efficiency.
Australian post-harvest automation company, P&C Automation have opened a new office and manufacturing facility in Brisbane to meet the increase in demand.
“We have been working remotely, and our equipment manufacture was done by our partner an hour away from Brisbane. The new facility will enable us to accommodate the increase in demand for customised machines and upgrades,” explains Hayden Stewart, Director at P&C Automation.
“There has been a huge increase in demand for machines in Australia. This has been driven firstly by the labour shortage in Australia but also by supply chain issues which it makes it difficult to get machinery and parts from overseas.”
P&C Automation supplies turnkey automated systems and upgrades to existing systems for fruit and vegetable growers and processors. They have a big focus on local – everything is supplied and manufactured by local companies, according to Hayden this allows them to help customers adapt quickly to changes in demand.
“Lockdowns have meant that big and small growers who would normally supply the wholesale markets or foodservice customers have had to adapt and look at supplying retailers or different export markets, which means changing the way they pack the produce.
“Even before Covid and the resulting lockdowns, our clients were looking at adapting their operations as consumer demand changed. Implementing a new system can be a large undertaking, so many growers like to upgrade systems in stages to suit operational requirements. We will still work with our partners to supply our standard equipment, but our new facility will allow us to increase our capacity for customised machinery.”