A More Efficient Way to Process & Package Produce

Wrabacon specializes in developing creative packaging & automated conveyor system solutions for our customers that make time intensive tasks efficient and easy. A recent example is a custom designed and manufactured series of conveyors that drastically improved the efficiency of a manual produce packing operation for a regional distributor and specialty packaging company of organic produce.

Client Challenge

The client needed to be able to sort up to 6000 lbs. of produce an hour, grade that produce, and then package it in a variety of ways including loose product, cased product, and bagged product. Prior to the Wrabacon system, the grading portion of the operation was done by opening a box of produce and hand picking the good from the bad and transferring the bad product into a separate box which was then disposed of, which was time consuming and inefficient.

The Wrabacon Solution

  • An automated conveyor system to improve overall efficiency
  • An inclined feed conveyor that is manually loaded
  • A grading conveyor that allows operators to physically sort different grades of produce quickly and easily
  • A waste conveyor to remove unwanted produce efficiently
  • A portable conveyor used for bagging produce that can be easily added when needed
  • Easy controls to allow certain parts of the system to be halted as product is moved by hand without interrupting the overall process

Produce Handling System Operation

After manually loading the produce onto the conveyor, operators stand along the conveyor and grade the produce as it passes by. The grading conveyor consists of ¾” diameter rollers that rotate the produce as it passes by. Unwanted produce is placed onto the waste conveyor that travels in the opposite direction. The good product is transferred into a hopper that brings the produce up to the top of a small hopper. From the hopper, the product is handled one of two ways; into a bulk case or directly onto a takeaway conveyor for individual packaging.

For packaging, the boxes or bags (the portable bagging conveyor can be easily moved onto place when needed) are placed on a scale and filled to the required weight. When that weight is reached, the conveyor feeding produce can be easily stopped via a button so the operator can move the box or bag off the scale. However, the grading conveyor is still filling the hopper, so the overall process does not get delayed. When the operator is ready to continue, a simple press of the button starts the process again.

Once the product is packaged, it is set along another conveyor that allows the containers to be clipped or tied and easily labeled.

High Speed Servo Over-Head Reject System

The Challenge

While designing a custom conveyor system Wrabacon was challenged to provide a reject system to reject under/overweight product from a high speed processing system. The product passed the check weigher at 220 FPM.

The Solution

Our team of designers went to work and after testing several solutions the decision was to design and manufacture a stainless steel over-head servo controlled over-head reject system. Because the product was wet and the system was to be installed in an area where wash down would take place the reject system was designed entirely with wet duty and wash down components.

Due to the limited space where the reject system would be installed the over-head system was designed with paddles to sweep the product. This design choice saved space by eliminating side pneumatic cylinders which are typically used in reject systems. As product passes over the check weigher a signal is sent to the reject system should an overweight or under weight product be detected. Once the product enters the reject system a paddle that is attached to a rotating chain sweeps the product into a reject bin.

This just one of many conveyor and system solutions offered by Wrabacon. Click here to browse our custom automated systems.