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The machine has 16 lanes with 16 exits, 8 exits on each side of the machine with 3 of each 8 exits sending first grade blueberries directly to two A&B clam filling machines that sit on each side of the machine.
The AirJet® Blueberry from GP Graders is able to separate blueberries into 5 different categories of softness to firmness as well as being able to separate out all defects and colour and size. The software and cameras can detect shrivel and stem on or off. But the greatest innovation is its ability to separate very soft for instant quick freeze (IQF), semi soft, medium, medium firm and firm.
For the first time, blueberry packers are able to ship with confidence that their product will arrive in the condition it was sent, thereby opening premium export markets. “We have removed all sorting staff”, say Benning, “The HD cameras and software are so good we just don’t need to allocate labour to sort any more”.
Bob Benning of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales is thrilled with the outcome of the machine. “This machine is going to revolutionise the market for blueberries. This is a real game changer!”, he said. “We looked at a couple of other machines out there but the GP Grader is the only one that can separate into various categories of softness to firmness. It means I can start sending the firmest fruit overseas and send the other fruit to different markets depending on distance and travel time.”
The grader is able to comfortably process around 125kg (275lb) per lane per hour and is currently processing 2 metric tonne (2.2 ton) per hour of average sized blueberries.
The AirJet® blueberry grading line has been designed for full sanitation washdown after use. All parts of the machinery have been developed for cleaning accessibility and a quick clean. The machine has its own self washing cycle which washes and dries the conveyor at the press of a button.