Finnish cooperative Närpes Grönsaker sorts, packs, trades and sells tomatoes and cucumbers for its members. With the two-tracked QSort, they can sort, seal and pack cucumbers. That is done with a speed of 36,000 cucumbers per hour.
The total surface of Närpes Grönsaker is almost 35 hectares, divided over various areas from more than 70 different cultivators in Finland. The cooperative has an enormous, centrally located packing station, where multiple sorting machines process the products. A new video by Greefa shows how the cucumber line, which they have had for a year-and-a-half now, works. Otto Klop from Greefa: “The two-tracked QSort sorts, seals and packs the cucumbers fully automatically and ensures optimum use of space in the box, and all at a speed of about 36,000 cucumbers per hour.”
Otto Klop from Greefa has accompanied this entire project from A to Z. He is satisfied with the result. “Närpes Grönsaker needed a machine that would considerably increase their sorting capacity. The machine also has to offer inline sealing possibilities. Additionally, they wanted the crates of the unsorted product and those of the sorted product to be stacked fully automatically. The process, from the first conversation to putting the machine into operation, took two years. But in the end, they now have a machine that meets all of these needs.”
The sorting process starts with the supply system. The crates with unsorted product are stacked fully automatically. “These are first registered and then supplied to the sorter,” Otto explains. “They are then sorted at weight, length and curve. Class two cucumbers are manually removed. Next, all of the cucumbers are sealed and sent to a specific exit. But the largest capacity of the machine is in eight automatic end fillers.” These automatic end fillers are smart enough to realise an optimum packing of the box. “They find the best possible fitting weight for the box. They make the right combination with different cucumbers. The boxes are then sent to the palletiser.” The possibility of this kind of custom-made work was the main reason for Närpes Grönsaker to choose Greefa. “This optimum packaging results in considerable savings for them,” Otto says.
All boxes are registered, so that it is clear which cultivator provides which products. At this time, they are looking into the possibility of labelling each individual cucumber.
“The cucumber line is completely operational for the Finnish sorting company. If there is any trouble, Greefa can see what the problem is from a distance, and find a solution. The customer can also choose to install webcams. People can then see what the problem is over a secure connection. If necessary, we can take over the entire process through the built-in system in order to solve the problem.”