Diamond Fruit Growers and UNITEC, an assessment on the first pear handling season
We have received many comments about the line and all have been positive. Other packing houses have come to tour the line and have expressed how efficient and smoothly it runs.
Retailers that have received our product have commented on our fruit quality and how very consistent it is. We have had several top retailer stop at our plant just to tour the line and have been very impressed with the operation.
Satisfaction of all the actors involved, at all levels of the fruit and vegetable supply chain.
This is how we can summarize the results of the first Diamond Fruit Growers pears handling season achieved with UNITEC technology.
The above-mentioned words of David Garcia, President of the Oregon Packing House, clearly show that the season just concluded has given excellent results.
Exactly one year after its inauguration, on 16 July 2018 at Hood River Valley, the UNITEC 18-lane line equipped with Pears Sort 3 technology has indeed given life to a final product characterized by extremely high levels of qualitative homogeneity, within single supplies and between one supply and another.
Retailers were not only impressed, but really astonished by the Quality Consistency of the product supplied by Diamond Fruit Growers: several chains openly stated that the product they could exhibit on the shelves was characterized by levels of quality and homogeneity considerably higher than those to which they were used to, which led the Final Consumers to significantly increase their purchase.
Indeed, the representatives of some of the most important top Retailer in the world wanted to go personally to Diamond facilities to see the line running.
The representatives of the distribution chains were not the only ones who visited the line.
The representatives of various competing Packing Houses also wanted to see first-hand the technology that allowed such results.
The clamor aroused by this pear season was further intensified by the distrust towards pre-sorting lines, a very widespread feeling within the US fruit and vegetable sector.
To date, in fact, the US Packing Houses handling pears have always preferred direct packaging lines, in the belief that pre-sorting lines lacked delicacy and therefore could damage the pears. And they have favored them at the cost of giving up the great advantage of pre-sorting lines, which, unlike the others, put the packer in a position to know exactly how much and what product they have to sell before packing it.
The choice of Diamond Fruit Growers to rely on UNITEC for a pre-sorting line for pears, and the surprising results obtained, represented a real watershed compared to the past.
A pear that starts with no skin damage its run on the UNITEC line will end up with no markings after being ran across the line.
This is what we were hoping for when we approached UNITEC about designing this line and they truly succeed in building a line that will not mark up the pears.
This is how David Garcia commented on the results obtained by making this choice in contrast with the choices made by the other packers until then.
Therefore, Diamond’s choice was seemingly courageous: actually, all the Packers who went to the plant to see the UNITEC line could not help but recognize that its gentleness in fruit treatment is not just equal to that of direct packaging lines, but even superior.
Without exaggeration, it can be said that after this line made by UNITEC there is a before and an after in the world of pear handling.
The UNITEC 18-lane line equipped with Pears Sort 3 technology purchased by Diamond Fruit Growers is one of the first pear handling lines in the United States that has brought a real turnaround: now more and more Packers are focusing their attention to pear handling lines designed with these peculiar characteristics.
Gentleness on pears is just one of the distinctive features of the UNITEC line, which has contributed to the results achieved by Diamond. The reliability of the quality selection made possible by Pears Sort 3 system designed by Unisorting, a division of the UNITEC group, obviously contributed to create these results.
Such a level of reliability and precision in quality selection, which is unprecedented in this sector, guaranteed by the very high resolution cameras with which Pears Sort 3 system is equipped and the possibility of scanning the pear 360 degrees, has led to reaching great homogeneity in the quality of the pears, in the final package and between one package and another.
Here are the words of President Garcia:
We noticed, especially in our number one grade, that the end product was very consistent.
The reliability in quality selection allowed by UNITEC technology, in fact, makes it possible to divide fruits into product classes characterized by an extremely high Coherent Quality, each class having its own territorial or consumption destination.
The UNITEC line purchased by Diamond Fruit Growers does not just hold the record of being one of the first lines for pears in the United States characterized by high gentleness: it is also the first line in the world highly specialized for handling and selecting pear quality.
When we first started looking at replacing our old lines there were apple lines out there that were modified to run pears but they weren’t going to take us where we felt we needed to be for the future.
That is where UNITEC came into play. UNITEC was able to show us through their designs and vision what a true pear line would look like.
As we got further into working with UNITEC we knew that this was the line to take us into the future
Unlike all the other technology producers Diamond Fruit Growers met, who simply proposed to re-adapt for pears pre-existing lines designed for apples, UNITEC took the responsibility of designing and manufacturing from scratch a line dedicated exclusively to pears.
And the results did not take long in coming as the line has impressed all the members of the fruit and vegetable supply chain thanks to the gentleness of its handling and to the homogeneity level achieved by the fruit exiting the line.
The benefits and the results achieved are not over.
David Garcia also spoke of an almost 100% increase in production efficiency and a significant reduction in labor costs:
Our ability to process more bins in an hour increased. Prior with two lines we were able to run 70-75 bins per hour.
With the new line we ran 100- 140 bins per hour Prior years we had up to 75 employees per shift sorting.
New line we had 12-15 sorters per shift.
This first pear season of Diamond Fruit Growers is a source of great joy for the entire UNITEC Team, who works every day to build concrete results for their Customers.
It is also a very important factor in the building of an increasingly winning relationship between UNITEC and the US market, based on the UNITEC Team's ability to design and create innovative projects that all share the peculiarity of creating strong improvement results in the handling processes of fruit and vegetable products.
UNITEC has already been present in the United States for some time with two operating branches, one in Lodi in California and one in Wenatchee in the State of Washington, which allow them to be close to their overseas Customers.
Another indication that we had made a right decision was at the end of the season everyone was looking forward to the next season with the new line because we think we have just begun to touch on how well this line can run pears!
For this first pear season of Diamond, thanks to the UNITEC line, there is no better conclusion than President Garcia’s statements. His words gratify the entire UNITEC Team for their work.
This article is sponsored content