For cherry sorters, even small losses in capacity can incur extra production costs, usually in the form of increased running hours, overfilled cups and reduced throughput.
In a bid to improve capacity utilisation, New Zealand-based firm Compac Sorting Equipment has developed the Dynamic Lane Balancing system for its Small Fruit Sorter.
The new balancing feature uses Compac’s Sizer software programme to evenly distribute the flow of cherries across the machine, providing maximum throughput. It also contains a safety mechanism capable of closing down the entry to each sorting lane if required.
“If there is some kind of issue downstream, which means this lane cannot take any more cherries, the machine is able to realise this and closes the lane off whilst also alerting the operator,” Compac engineer Eric Plessius says.
“Sometimes things do happen in the packhouse so it’s best to be prepared. Every cherry which is damaged is a cherry our customers can’t sell.”
Columbia Fruit will be among the first to trial the new balancing feature, with the Washington State grower, packer, marketer investing in a new 36 lane sorter.
The installation is being handled Compac and its partner Van Doren Sales, who provide service and support to Compac customers in the Washington State area.
“This is our largest electronic cherry sorter project in Washington to date,” Bret Pittsinger, president of Van Doren Sales says.
“The Compac-Van Doren relationship is unique in the marketplace and was one of the key reasons we were able to secure this project.”