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As the fruit season comes to an end it’s important to properly clean and maintenance check your equipment to ensure it’s ready to go for the next season. Proper maintenance and cleaning of your grading equipment not only prolongs the machinery’s lifespan but also ensures a smooth start-up going into the next season. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the steps involved in machine cleaning and maintenance at the end of a season.
Once all your fruit has been sent out or placed in cold-storage, the first step is to thoroughly clean the machinery. This involves removing all orchard debris, dirt, and fruit residue that may have accumulated during the harvest season. Rotten fruit can attract rodents which can then attack other components of the machinery, particularly belting and electrical wires.
Cups can be removed from the main chain, placed in tubs, and soaked in warm soapy water. Curtains and belting should be removed a wiped down.
Ensure all power and air are turned off before cleaning. A pressure washer can be used to blast away dirt and debris from certain parts and areas on the machinery however extreme caution should be exercised to ensure electronic components are avidly avoided. This includes AirJet® chambers as the top section is not water rated. Grader singulators, for example, can be hosed down however, be careful to avoid getting fluids near any motors and gearboxes. Taping plastic bags over these elements will help to prevent this water damage.
All vertical and horizontal surfaces should be wiped over with a mild alcohol solution.
After cleaning the machinery, it’s important to inspect it for any signs of damage or wear and tear. This includes checking the belts, bearings, and other moving parts for wear and tear. If any parts are found to be damaged or worn, they should be ordered and replaced before storing the machinery away for the off-season. Get in touch with our spare parts team with your requests: https://gpgraders.com/spare-parts/
Once the machinery has been inspected, it’s time to lubricate any moving parts. This helps to prevent rust and corrosion during the off-season and ensures that the machinery is ready to go when the next harvest season rolls around. Moving parts on the machinery such as chain requires lubrication to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear. Different types of lubricants are designed for different applications and can have different properties, such as viscosity and temperature range so have a chat with our support team to learn the recommended lubricants for various parts of the machine. Most of the bearings we use are sealed bearings and DO NOT require lubrication.
GP Graders equipment has a master power switch. At the end of the season, you can power down each component prior to any cleaning or maintenance. The main AirJet® or gp501/gp601 grading machine can also be shut down via the main control station.
If you’re unsure of the correct sequence for your specific setup, get in contact with us to go over the process.
Once the machinery is clean and dry, cover it with protective covers, particularly screens, keyboards, and electrical motors.
For singulation belts. Remove these from the machine and drape them over a drum or similar to remove tension from the belt. Retaining the belts under tension will cause the belts to hump.
We offer a Vision Support Package service (VSP) to ensure your vision system is in perfect working condition for day one of the season. Our team of highly skilled technicians will conduct the VSP to ensure all hardware, electronics and software is checked, up to date, and fully calibrated so that you are “ready to roll” from day one of the season. Book in your VSP by submitting a ticket here: https://support.gpgraders.com/
Machine cleaning and maintenance at the end of a fruit season is an important task that ensures the longevity of the machinery. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your machinery is ready to go when the next harvest season rolls around. Proper maintenance and cleaning of machinery not only prolongs its lifespan but also saves money in the long run by preventing breakdowns and costly repairs.
N.B. This article seeks to provide a broad overview of machinery maintenance and further information should be sort from GP Graders into the exact processes required for your equipment or configuration.