Australia: Sunraysia packing upgrade to support mandarin boom
An Australian fruit company expects a packing house upgrade will help boost competitiveness in domestic and export markets, with technology designed to better handle soft citrus varieties.
The Seven Seas 10,000sqm packing shed in Sunraysia, Victoria will be able to pack more than three million cartons of citrus each season.
"The packing shed has been primarily designed to handle the explosion of mandarins that will come into production in the Sunraysia region over the next few years," said Seven Seas managing director Greg McMahon.
"The special design features means it will be able to handle the softer citrus varieties, like mandarins, much more gently and with the proper treatments; and do it without compromising the speed and efficiency demanded by the modern marketplace.
"All other citrus varieties will be accommodated just as easily."
The packing facility line was designed by New Zealand company Falcon Engineering and the packing equipment contractor was French business MAF Agrobotic, which has a subsidiary Colour Vision Systems in Australia.
"It’s an exciting project Seven Fields have embarked upon, and one that gives me the opportunity to bring together all of the aspects of efficient production lines with future-proof post-harvest treatment facilities that I have seen around the world and installed in Australasia," added Falcon Engineering project manager Allan Dean.
MAF Agrobotic director Thomas Blanc said the complete citrus packing solution in Australia could showcase the progressive thinking the company has been advocating for some time in other parts of the world.
"The design we have developed with Seven Fields includes a two-stage packing line where fruit is pre-graded and pre-sized on one line, and then packed on the second line.
"Throughout the process there are multiple quality checks, and most importantly the two stage line permits greater flexibility in the orchard and a shorter time to deliver product to customers."