Dutch company makes the cut with grape destemming technology

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Dutch company makes the cut with grape destemming technology

Albert Einstein once said, "most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple".

It is exactly that idea that has led a Dutch company to develop a grape destemming machine that has been shortlisted as a contender for the upcoming Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2014 in Berlin. uvas_44535784 small

Just before Christmas, the annual trade fair organizers announced this year's 10 candidates for the prestigious accolade. Among them is Netherlands-based ZTI Mechatronic BV, which has developed a 'simple and effective' machine that gently separates fruit from the vine.

Machiel Honig is the technical director and brains behind the invention that will be exhibited at the event this week from Feb. 5-7.

With only two GDM-35 machines manufactured so far, Honig says the company is ready to roll out orders if and when they come, and hopes presenting his creation in Berlin could kick start requests from fruit factories, winemakers and packhouses.

"The beauty of the grape destemming machine is that it's so simple to use, easy to maintain and very effective. It will speed up the whole process of destemming grapes without the need for touching or making excessive contact with the fruit," Honig says.

"One operator feeds bunches of grapes into a gap which sits at the top of the machine and they are rolled between two soft cushions which gently roll the grapes off the bunch. They are unscrewed from the stem and then come out onto the conveyor belt.

"A major selling point is that it does not damage the fruit because we do not make use of brushes and there is no need for operators to use their fingers to pull or touch the grapes in any way once they are inside."

Operators will then need to manually sought the batches in the usual manner before they move on to the next process.  Honig believes using the equipment will speed up the entire process with a maximum of 240kg (529lbs) of grapes destemmed in one hour.

"What companies have been doing with say 10 people, they can now do with just three of four, and so that represents quite a big saving.

"How many grapes are destemmed over an hour period does depend on the variety of the grape and whether they are totally fresh or a little dry already; however, 240 kilos per hour is the maximum we have seen so far."

"We are very happy to be short listed in this year's Fruit Logistica Innovation Awards. As a company it's great that we have got into the spotlight, especially given the fact that we have been recognized for innovation; of course we are very pleased about that."

ZTI Mechatronic BV will be judged by a panel of production, quality management, wholesale, retail and packaging industry professionals, alongside the nine other nominees.

Our coverage of Fruit Logistica Innovation Award nominees is based on a random selection of half the candidates and in no way indicates the potential winner.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com


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