A sorting line solves quality problems and addresses seasonal worker shortages

Up to 2 tonnes of blueberries per hour 

An example of this automation is compact sorting lines, which are an advantage for owners of small and medium-sized farms, as they enable quick and accurate inspection of fruit for softness. This system was chosen by Beata and Kazimierz Wasiak who grow blueberries on a 10-hectare plantation. The line, delivered to them in 2018, includes a feed conveyor to transport the fruit to the Impulse softness sorting machine and an inspection conveyor. This solution allows sorting of up to 2 tonnes of blueberries per hour.

“The solution proposed to Mr and Mrs Wasiak is especially useful when the situation in the labour market is like the current one – fewer and fewer people want to work with fruit, especially in a seasonal industry. Then there are the changing weather conditions, which are always a major headache for fruit growers. The sorting line eliminates several jobs, plus it effectively removes soft fruit that is difficult for the human eye to detect”, explained Maciej Chmielewski from Milbor PMC. The Impulse softness sorter is able to accurately eliminate soft, damaged, overripe, and dried out fruit.

Impulse softness sorter 

”While colour sorting is effectively done by trained workers for the most part already at the harvest stage, proper classification of the degree of softness of the fruit is often tedious, slow, and hard for them. It is important to remember here that blueberries are a special product that is very delicate and sensitive. Therefore, it is advisable to use equipment that works well with the fruit and does not cause rubbing off of the natural wax coating and thus loss of fruit quality”, commented Mr Kazimierz Wasiak from a farm in Mogielnica. “We made a decision to purchase the sorting machine also thanks to the positive opinions of our colleagues from the Blueberry Growers Association, of which we are members”, added Mrs Beata Wasiak.

“An additional advantage of this system is the compact design of the individual units, which makes it possible to expand the line in the future with colour sorters or small fruit eliminators, packaging machines, or a labelling system”, added Mr Chmielewski.

The sorting line for Wasiaks’ farm was delivered by Milbor PMC – a distributor of fruit packing and sorting machines from A&B Packing Equipment and WECO Sorting, and of traysealers from the British manufacturer Packaging Automation.

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