HEPRO Ltd has always been known for its high-quality systems for horizontal asparagus peeling. In recent years, however, vertical peeling in particular has rapidly gained importance in the international asparagus industry. "The horizontal peeling system reached its limits: on the one hand, no further optimizations could be made to the peeling pattern, and on the other hand, the scaling of the machine no longer promised any space savings. This meant that a completely new approach was necessary to achieve both a quantum leap in peeling quality with more throughput in a smaller space," says HEPRO Sales Manager Philipp Haupt (pictured below).
These requirements ultimately gave rise to the vertical peeling system, which allows for much more precise and smoother blade guidance, Haupt says. "This increased precision requires four fewer cuts and therefore causes fewer losses. The vertical system is suitable for closely spaced peeling lines, allowing multiple peeling operations to be run simultaneously, but with only one input and one output system. In addition to fewer peeling losses and better space utilization, the decreased manpower requirements ensure a significantly more economical peeling process."
Now, another optimization is imminent in the form of an XL variant, Haupt continues. "The XL line was born out of the demand to make the HEPRO-1800 more flexible in terms of processable bar diameters. While the first version was able to peel 8-32 mm thick asparagus - corresponding to a possible variance of 24 mm - the XL version is able to hold and peel 8 - 36 mm thick asparagus (with a possible variance of 28 mm, i.e. + 16% compared to the previous model) thanks to a new, innovative gripping system. This positive experience will be taken into account and consequently extended to the HSM-3000 and HSM-6000 industrial machines - for the first time for the 2023 season."
The large machines are mainly used in regions with large asparagus cultivation and processing areas. These include all the well-known asparagus growing regions in Germany, some in Alsace, and the major asparagus exporters in China and Peru. Among the users are predominantly producers with supply contracts to the catering and wholesale trade, as well as asparagus-processing enterprises.
The latest HEPRO machines will be presented and demonstrated at the upcoming expoSE trade fair in Karlsruhe. More visitors are expected than last year. Apart from visitors from Germany, primarily French -mostly Alsatian- asparagus producers are expected, as well as Italian and Dutch producers and processors. Against a backdrop of pervasive cost increases and challenges, there will be plenty of discussion and talk at the annual industry gathering. "We're seeing a trend toward more automation to reduce the costs and risks associated with seasonal workers, who often come from abroad."
"More volatility in sales of fresh asparagus as a possible consequence of loss of purchasing power and continued demonetization will fuel considerations to extend the shelf life of asparagus via peeling and packing or peeling and canning. Due to the fact that large volumes of fresh asparagus had to be destroyed in the 2022 season, growers will rely on more flexibility in sales," Haupt concludes.
Visit the company at expoSE 2022: Hall 1-D02.