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Fruit grower Wilco Brokken:
“We have never managed to sort second class fruit like this before”

When Ellips was founded in 1989, Erwin Bakker started with the development of software programmes for sorting machines. Over the course of the years the emphasis was on the software for the external quality sorting of various fruit and vegetable products. Now, at fruit and tree grower Brokken from Altforst, the automator is going ‘back to his roots’. To optimise the quality sorting, fruit and sorting company Brokken, chose a combined pre sorting line with water channels and an underwater filler suitable for both apples and pears from Burg Machinefabriek.

Brokken has an area of 50 hectares of regular cultivation (Conference, Lukassen, Xenia, Elstar, Jonagored, Red Prince, Gala and Golden) and focused last year on organic cultivation with Natyra, Elstar and Maribelle on an area of 10 hectares. Besides this the company also has a tree nursery of 25 hectares and a cooling house for the storage of 6,000 tonnes of fruit; both their own and that of third parties.

At the start of last year the fruit grower went to the Eindhoven automator. “Ellips may not have had many references in the Dutch pear sector, but we had faith in the knowledge and the drive of the company,” explains Wilco Brokken. The automator quickly started working on writing new software for converting the existing Greefa sorting machine and at the start of October the 6 track line was operational.

“We want to be able to define various sorting groups and classes well, so that we can supply a uniform quality to our customers, even for difficult parties. That was our main point of reference,” says Wilco. “The machine has now been running for a few months. The Ellips software is hugely server- friendly and gives a clear quality impulse. Previously we didn’t manage to automatically sort out Class II and ‘bottles’.”

The existing sorting machine was equipped with a whole new control and camera box and has been fitted with HD camera technology and LED lighting, which makes the machine able to sort for size, colour, weight and external quality. “This trend can be seen in various larger sorters. It is a revolutionary way to buffer fruit after the pre selection in short water channels and to fill them without damage with an underwater filler. This saves a considerable amount of space.”

Every filled box receives a unique label, which guarantees the traceability. “In this way we can quickly process large volumes and this is very important in today’s market. The camera system is very accurate. The leaves are also recognised and this is reasonably unique compared to the existing systems. Due to this we aren’t dependent on people and we can supply our customers with the right product and a uniform quality,” concludes Wilco.

For Ellips the line at Brokken was a great pilot project and at the moment a second line is being installed at a Dutch pear grower. “We expect to supply more fruit growers with our automatic solutions over the coming years. In recent sorting machines it has been a logical choice to keep the camera system up to date. It’s our goal to supply the best quality,” says Erwin Bakker. The line at Brokken is now specifically intended for external quality sorting, but is prepared to later supply internal quality sorting. “You have to leave something to be desired,” concludes Wilco.

Fruit- en Boomkwekerij J Brokken
Heppertsestraat 24
6628 AJ Altforst
Tel: (0487) 54 16 44

Wilco Brokken and Erwin Bakker

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