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Astra introduces upcoming launch of grapefruit/pomelo peeler and pineapple slicing machine

Last year, Japanese automatic fruit peeler innovator Astra celebrated exporting its peeler to 50 countries. As its business expands and customer demand increases, the company is innovating new types of machines. Ryo Takeshita, the sales manager at Astra introduced the company's forthcoming launch of a grapefruit/pomelo peeler and a pineapple slicing machine.

"We are working on a new model for peeling grapefruits and pomelos"
Astra has received many requests for grapefruit and pomelo peeling, especially from East Asia. The company is working on a new model. "Grapefruit and pomelos have similar peeling characteristics - very thick skin, which can cause a typical blade to get stuck during peeling. We needed to develop the appropriate attachments and programmes to deal with this. The good thing is that we have a lot of experience in peeling large fruits such as pineapples, melons and citrus fruits such as oranges. By integrating these technologies, we've successfully developed a new blade specifically for grapefruit and pomelos."

"We are now experimenting with this model in our Japanese factory and we intend to launch the product in a few months' time. Our customers, predominantly from Taiwan, are eagerly anticipating its release," Ryo said.

Prototype grapefruit and pomelo peeler

"We help clients to increase productivity even more with the slicing machine'
For most fruit processors, peeling is undoubtedly the most time-consuming part of the fruit processing process. During the installation of its pineapple peelers at customer sites, Astra found that slicing is just as laborious and requires skill. "If you want to slice a pineapple, you always need to peel it first, and we've already got the best solution for that." Ryo explains, "in order to help clients increase production efficiency even more, we took the initiative to look into this area."

There are many manufacturers of slicing machines, so what is unique about the Astra slicing machine? Ryo explains: "Our new pineapple slicer offers three distinct advantages. Firstly, it revolutionises the traditional processing sequence by starting with peeling, followed by slicing and ending with de-coring, as opposed to the traditional order of peeling, de-coring and slicing. In addition, it allows users to pause or resume processing at any stage, facilitating tasks such as peeling and slicing at the factory, with de-coring completed at the store, thereby enhancing fruit freshness. Secondly, in keeping with our commitment to compact design, this slicer is tabletop compatible, ensuring easy installation and immediate use upon delivery. Its compact form allows for versatile placement without taking up excessive space, while maintaining efficiency and convenience. Finally, unlike conventional pineapple slicers, our slicing model offers adjustability in the slicing process, allowing the number of pineapple pieces to be customised from 2 to 500. This adaptability opens up opportunities for innovative product development, potentially changing the final product landscape".

"Last week we finished testing at a Japanese fresh pineapple factory and we are getting feedback from them. They basically loved the machine and wanted to buy two units. For the market outside Japan, we need to prepare the certifications and documents, so it'll be released around autumn or so."

Prototype slicing machine

Numerous patents and three decades of experience
Astra's commitment to relentless innovation is deeply ingrained in its ethos. "Our focus is on continually enhancing machine performance by making them lighter, smaller and more efficient. Alongside refining existing models, we're actively developing new ones tailored to different fruit types. Drawing inspiration from interactions with clients and visitors at exhibitions, we've embarked on the exploration of diverse product possibilities to leverage the peeler's versatility."

"Of course, none of this would be possible without our amazing development team." Ryo said, "Once the development team has an idea, no one can stop them. Sometimes very weird products come up as a development model and a lot of them sleep in the warehouse, but combining the weird things into one product sometimes creates a great product. It doesn't happen every time, but sometimes it happens and that's enough for us."

Astra is one of the pioneers in the market with a 'blade-type' peeler (most peelers on the market are 'round-type'), and the company faces attempts by competitors to copy it. "But this has little effect on us. These companies can only imitate the look, not the peeling quality. Our numerous international patents and three decades of experience in peeling technology is not something that can be easily copied."

Astra is attending the Anuga Frood Tec on 19-22 March, booth number Hall 10.1 G-018." "For those readers of this article whom we have never met, we welcome visitors our stand at an exhibition with real fruits to test our machines!

For more information:
Mr. Ryo Takeshita
Tel.: +81 0245412444