The quality of vegetables and fruit can be graded more effectively, rapidly and consistently
Brooks Lee, of Durand-Wayland:
Grading and sorting produce has come a long way since everything was done by hand. In an economic environment where minimizing waste and accurately categorizing fresh produce are paramount, companies continue to develop technology to be able to optimize this process.
Durand-Wayland is an agricultural supplier based in Georgia. Founded in 1934, the company specializes in packinghouse products and manufactures a range of sprayer products. They also supply grading and sorting technology, recognizing this as a fundamental part of a producer’s process from field to market. According to Durand-Wayland, their vision system partner, Ellips, offers some of the best technologies capable of grading crops based on weight, size, color, external and internal quality.
“Grading and sizing technology is ever-evolving and over the last few years we have worked diligently to align ourselves with an outstanding group of technology and hard goods partners,” said Brooks Lee, of Durand-Wayland. “We specify equipment to meet the needs of our diverse and growing customer base. Our partner, Ellips, provides outstanding accuracy in all facets of grading metrics. The best lighting, high definition cameras and critical componentry are now used to detect even the most difficult blemishes. In addition to facilitating a more effective, efficient and less labor-intensive grading process, we’ve also introduced a flexible chemical free equipment cleaning technology that has been deployed as a CIP (clean-in-place) solution on our sizers and can be used to clean other equipment throughout a shed. We want to do everything possible to help our customers deliver quality produce from food safety conscience facilities.”
Modern solutions to common issues
With labor shortages and mounting pressure on businesses to run as efficiently as possible, automation appears to be inevitable in agriculture. With the advancements in grading and sorting, Lee said new technology in these areas will reduce food waste and provide producers with more information on what is in their product. He said they pride themselves on innovating and coming up with solutions best suited to the packer.
“We believe that our signature product is our ability to conceive, design, manufacture and integrate solutions for our packinghouse and sprayer customers,” he said. “We pride ourselves on being able to deliver products that meet the needs of operators across the continuum from roadside stands to multi-million dollar packing facilities.”
“As packinghouses struggle to find the quantity and quality of individuals necessary to consistently run production, we offer solutions for every operation,” Lee continued. “Using Ellips’ vision software, the quality of vegetables and fruit can be graded more effectively, more rapidly and more consistently than by any other means, either human or by a competitor’s systems. The Ellips system is easily integrated on new and refurbished grading machines from Durand-Wayland and other providers.”
Durand-Wayland’s grading equipment can cover many different types of produce. It has been designed to accommodate almost any size fruit or vegetable and the company also says with the additional automated grading provided by products such as Ellips, it can also increase capacity.
“As a broad-based solutions provider, our equipment is found in facilities that grade and pack apples, pears, lemons, limes, clementines, oranges, avocados, onions, dates, peaches, peppers, nectarines, cherries, blueberries, kiwi, melons, cantaloupe, pomegranates, cucumbers, squash, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes,” Lee said. “We have many examples of where capacity has been increased using our grading technology. One of our customers is an apple packer and using the Ellips grading system, they were able to increase capacity from 300 bins a day to 420.”
Lee concluded by saying that Durand-Wayland are always willing to meet new challenges and to continue developing solutions to the fresh produce industry. “We invite new challenges and look forward to being a collaborative, problem solving partner,” he said. “Food safety and food waste is becoming more important to our customers and consumers, so we know our products must meet these new challenges. Durand-Wayland continues to enjoy strong and growing demand. From our sorting and grading technology, as well as robotic bin handling and bin washing, to reduction of graders, to conveying and palletizing systems, we strive to provide equipment that pays for itself within 24 months.”