The company’s operations manager for Latam, Hamish Kay, said the technology was recently used in Peru, Argentina and Uruguay for the first time, and Chile was up next.
“We’ve had a range of different filling systems for blueberries in the market over the years and this has combined all that we have learned during the development of those machines. We’ve created basically a super-filler now,” he told www.freshfruitportal.com during event Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fruittrade Latin America in Santiago last week.
“This version is bigger, better, more precise, faster than our previous fillers – it comes with a 16-head version and a 12-head version,” the New Zealander said, adding the previous fillers had 10 heads.
“It allows them to pack a lot more fruit per square meter of packhouse as well.”
He said Chilean companies set to use the technology included Exportadora Prize, Agricom, David Del Curto, Frusan and Agrícola René Fernández e Hijo.
“They’re obviously very excited to try out the latest and greatest high-tech, so none of them have started up their seasons yet with the fruit but in the next few weeks they’re going to get to see how it runs.”
Inclement weather has put pressure on Chilean blueberry growers this year, making the protection of fruit quality imperative.
“We’ve focused on keeping the transitions between the parts of the machine and receiving from other machines as low as possible,” Kay said.
“Any drops are minimized completely, and we don’t let the fruit build up in a reservoir or anything like that. We just keep it all smooth on top of the machine.
“At least the benefit of having our machines is you can manage the effects of that [weather] damage – you’re not losing whole crops. You can use the technology to take out the isolated bad fruit and capitalize on the rest of your fruit.”
Kay added he was looking forward to Chile’s blueberry and cherry seasons.
The new fillers have also been sold in Poland and Canada.
Source: Fresh Fruit Portal