May 31, 2018
California cherry growers succeed with optical sorting line

The cherry season has recently begun in California. The harvest keeps growers and packers of this precious fruit on their toes as they strive to finalize the hard work of a whole year in just a few weeks.

Unitec  lines equipped with Cherry Vision technology – currently 12 in California, are installed at the majority of fruit packers’ plants (OG Packing Co., Morada Produce, Chinchiolo Stemilt, Felix Costa & Sons, M&R Packing, Podesta Packing, Warmerdam Packing) – and are approaching the peak of the season.

Nine of these lines were already operational in past seasons, while three have just been successfully installed this year. To date all of them are up and  running, providing good results since the the start-up.

“The start-up of our new Unitec 20 lanes went well and the machine is great for Rainiers. The distribution is very even and with minimal drops. The drops are very short and gentle on the product. The whole atmosphere of the line is calm,” said Tom Gotelli, partner of OG Packing. “These results are even more crucial if you consider that this is a challenging season for the cherry business in California: adverse weather conditions during winter time led to a significant reduction in volumes and some quality issues.”
Also for this reason Unitec’s Cherry Vision has proven to be even more valuable for the automatic sorting of the quality.

John Warmerdam, general manager of Warmerdam Packing and co-founder of The Flavor Tree Fruit Co., expressed his satisfaction: “This year we purchased a 12 lane UNITEC line with Cherry Vision 2. The start-up went well and we are very happy with the sorting.”
Cherry Vision, entirely designed and developed by Unitec’s R&D, offers several advantages that make it a reliable and strategic ally for cherry packers and marketers, even more so in seasons where the quality of the incoming product is affected by bad weather, and therefore processing efficiency becomes even more strategic.

Cherry Vision is able to help Californian packers thanks to its reliability and precision and has proven to be efficient right from the start-up. In fact, right from the first few hours of processing, Cherry Vision made the difference, and this is essential when timing is at the essence of business.

Finally, the automation of the whole process and the high reliability of Cherry Vision in sorting fruits based on internal and external quality make it possible to achieve important savings in labor with the guarantee of extremely uniform and consistent final packs, thus eliminating any chance of claims after the delivery.

These features allow Californian packers to feel more confident that they can do their job successfully and create a positive relationship with their customers. This technology is able to ensure a final product with “Consistent Quality” over time.

Fred Podesta, owner of Podesta Packing, believes in Unitec technology as a strategic asset to improve the business of his company.

“We installed 16 lanes equipped with Unitec Cherry Vision this season,” Podesta said. “Start-up went really well. Unitec had a lot of support onsite to ensure the start up. We also installed a Unitec Cluster cutter that is working extremely well and a Unitec Eliminator sizer that is very gentle and does a good job at taking out the small fruit. We also installed a AC 350 high speed box fillers. This filler is gentle and handles the volume that Unitec said it would. All in all this was a very good investment for M&R and podesta packing.”

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