Blueberry packing equipment – comparison of 3 models

G3 Evolution minimise overweight

When it comes to an investment in fruit packing automation, all details matter. To provide our customers with a deeper understanding of the machinery nuances, we elaborated an article comparing 3 different models of popular weigh & fills for blueberries and other fruits. In this material, we analyse the two popular machines for blueberry and compare them with G3 Evolution – the newest weigh & fill by A&B Packing Equipment.

Enter the 3rd stage of evolution in blueberry packing

The article aims to compare G3 Evolution with its market references and point out the differences and similarities between them. To do that, we will take a look at particular aspects of packing – focusing on facts and figures instead of marketing slogans. Before we get to the point, spending a while on G3 itself is necessary.

G3 Evolution is another version of weigh & fill, a flagship device designed by A&B Packing Equipment’s engineers. The American company is one of the world’s leaders in creating a wide range of machines for agribusiness, and packing equipment for blueberries belongs to the core of their offer.

Let’s take a summary outline of G3. What has changed in the third generation of this flagship weigh & fill? First of all, the product has a hygienic design, thus it is easier to clean and maintain. Round-shape elements of the construction, easily removable scale hoopers, moveable silicon pads, well-organised cabling system covered in a tube, side-mounted control cabin, and automatically openable cross feed as well as vibe panels frame – all these characteristics make the machine more accessible and easy to wash. Upgraded cleaning was paired with uncompromised stability. A robust, made out of stainless steel frame, new leg set and tool-less changeovers make G3 Evolution even more durable. Additionally, this modern packing equipment shows superb versatility. It is compatible with a variety of fruit and packaging types. Last but not least, the machinery provides top-accuracy packing (2 grams per punnet) while maintaining great operating speed. Thanks to them, the machinery has become one of the most advanced packing equipment available on the market.

Blueberry packing equipment comparison: the methodology

To avoid biased results, a solid comparison needs a pinch of explanation of how it was prepared. We compared G3 Evolution with two other equivalent machines delivered by major market players – one from Spain, and another one from New Zealand, calling their machines X and Y. The scrutiny regards linear 12-scale weigh & fills that work with multiple types of fruits. We analyse all three machines from the blueberry perspective and divide the comparison into the following categories: distribution system, weighing system, packaging, index belt, denester, hygiene and software. The details regarding X and Y machines come from their official websites and our customers who work with these particular models. Unfortunately, we have not managed to find all the required information yet – the missing pieces are pointed out in the table.

General information - packing equipment comparison

Packing equipment for blueberries – general information

At first glance, all three machines look quite similar. All models are made from stainless steel and use cross feed conveyor to infeed the fruits. The differences occur when we look at performance reports. Discussing 125-gram punnets, G3 works with a nominal speed 180 packings per minute (ppm), while machine X shows 165-175 ppm and machine Y 160 ppm. Moreover, G3 presents the highest nominal capacity: 1350 kg of blueberries per hour. X can perform 1250 kg/h and Y 1225 kg/h.

Packing types

In general, all three machines are compatible with multiple forms and sizes of packaging. This elasticity is an important factor in the light of variable trends of fruit packing. However, there are some nuances. Machine Y pack shakers (225-250 grams), nor lip-less punnets. What is more, G3 and X are equipped with quickly removable funnels that facilitate packing to alternative, large-volume punnets. Machine Y does not have this particular improvement.

Weigh & fill comparison

Weighing system – key solution for blueberry weight & fill

This aspect plays a pivotal role in all types of blueberry packing equipment, as it is responsible for the accuracy of packing. The precision determines overweights and the amount of fruits you giveaway. In big volume production each single gram counts. The less overweight per punnet, the better for your business model. G3 Evolution allows 2 grams of mistake per packing, whilst the competitors are less accurate: X = 3 grams, Y = 3-4 grams. More important differences to come. G3 is compatible with the e-weights system and offers a double dump mode, as well as auto-adjustment of the weighting settings. What is more, G3 Evolution and the X machine can release part-cycles, thus they can elevate OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). Here, we need to explain the meaning of part-cycles. It is when a weigh & fill can operate only a few scales instead of all scales available, for example, only 8 out of 12 scales work while 4 are inactive. The part-cycle releases can upgrade packing productivity when infeed does not work at full capacity (fewer fruits available), because you still can pack fruits and do not have to stop production.

Both competitors’ models are not compatible with the e-weights. Looking at the table above, it is easy to spot another contrast. G3 does not allow underweights, whilst two other machines do.

Crucial part of blueberry packing equipment – index belt

Apart from a few similarities, e.g. all models possess punnet detection sensors and a clamshell closer system, this section brings us some more distinctions. Only X weigh & fill is equipped with automatic index belt adjustment. This feature is optional in G3 Evolution and unavailable in machine Y. G3 Evolution provides a mechanical fruit settling system, X weight & fill uses a servo-driven one, whereas machine Y has none.

Machinery comparison

Hygiene design allows quicker cleaning

As we proved in one of the previous blog articles, machine construction has a massive influence on time spent on equipment cleaning, thus investing in weigh & fill designed with easy cleaning in mind, will pay off with shorter periods of everyday washing. In this category there, one model clearly outpaces the rest. Although the trio of weigh & fills is made out of food-grade, water-resistant materials, mainly stainless steel, only one does more than necessary. G3 Evolution has a hygienic and tubular design, which means it offers a range of innovations that make cleaning more efficient. For example, comparing these three models, only 3G Evolution is equipped with removable scale hoopers, silicone pads, and silicone curtains – easy to take out and wash separately. Additionally, the machinery by A&B Packing Equipment provides full access to the machine interior. It was achieved by automatically openable cross feed conveyor and vibe tray panels. These key features measurably reduce time spent on everyday cleaning.

Blueberry packing equipment comparison: more to come

The full table look has more options to be unveiled (e.g., denester, distribution, and software). In this article, we cover some critical characteristics of three popular packing machines for blueberry and other fruits. If this topic seems interesting to you, and you are eager to find out more about these three devices, fill out the form below. One of our consultants will contact you shortly, to present the open-view comparison with all the elements. Moreover, this consultation with Milbor PMC experts (which is free of charge and scheduled according to your calendar slots) will be a great chance to delve into detailed aspects of the comparison or simply explain some facts and machinery terms that are included in the table. Contact us now and learn the power of automated packing.

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