A brand new packhouse for a brand-new year, well almost! The Kea Fruit LP apple packhouse opened on 11th February 2022 to much fanfare. While the growers involved in the project are by no means new to the industry, this packhouse location is a brand-new fit-out that came with its very own set of challenges.
Who is Kea Fruit LP?
Kea Fruit LP is a conglomeration of 7 growers and exporters that have come together to pack New Zealand apples for the world. The Kea group has over 100 years of joint experience in the fresh produce industry, so it already has many long-standing relationships.
Where does EQM fit?
Our team formed part of the fit-out for the new location. We were to provide an apple carton conveying system that covered an impressive 70 meters of conveyor, plus an additional 40 meters of carton racking mounted on a cantilever support structure.
The system consists of 3 tiers, with bundles of empty cartons being stored in the two racks immediately above the band-driven roller conveyor, taking the full cartons away underneath. The best part though… the conveyor system was completely modular, and while it is a standard line of conveyors available through EQM Industrial, we were able to customise the finished powder coating to match the colours of other equipment being utilized within the packhouse.
Our point of difference?
EQM Industrial was able to provide the Tranzband conveyor system in a short timeframe plus we were one of the first companies to deliver equipment to the site for installation.
Whilst providing a standard design solution to the Kea Fruit Project, we were able to ensure that the product fit the tight space limitations of the packhouse. Our aim was to optimize the space while maximizing the output. And with an anticipated 450,000 cartons of apples being packed within their first season we think we provided Kea Fruit with a winning combination!
Of course, it wasn’t just about the size of the conveyor or the space it needed to fit. In partnership with our suppliers, we were able to incorporate a carton guiding system to feed and index the packed cartons at the correct pace for automatic carton gluing equipment. This also led to us working closely with the technical supplier of barcode reading and carton selection systems, ensuring that the cartons were distributed to the right exit lane for manual stacking on pallets. Special high speed 24Vdc diverters imported specially for the project and fitted with the standard Tranzband frame, have worked to enable smooth transitions for the pallet stackers to achieve maximum productivity output.
With the desire to ensure a smooth and seamless flow of apple cartons into and out of the packing line, we have enjoyed working with the Kea Fruit team to provide a customised layout based on a standard design.
Furthermore, we have supplied a system which can be easily adapted in the future as more carton erecting and apple packing automation is added into the existing packing lines.
Let EQM deliver real productivity through optimizing your processes with innovative conveyors and drives by contacting out team today!