Home' Grower : March 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- March 2013
Palletiser system stacks up for Nicol
FOR second-generation carrot
grower Doug Nicol, innovation and a
focus on delivering the very best
quality of fresh produce to market
are essential ingredients to success
in the highly competitive fresh food
Nicol Carrots in Virginia, South
Australia is a family business that
stands testament to that philosophy.
The carrots harvested are washed,
graded, packed and dispatched on
the same day to ensure they reach
the market in the fastest time and
freshest state possible.
To streamline the process, Nicol
Carrots recently installed two
automatic palletisers to stack
cartons and boxes in precise
configurations in the production line.
The palletisers are designed to
efficiently stack crates and cartons
onto pallets, allowing a single
operator to run the two lines
compared to the five staff required
for the job earlier and significantly
reducing labour costs.
The fully automated twin palletiser
system was configured and installed
by J-Tech Systems using Sorma
machinery and was designed to
meet the specific needs of the Nicol
Carrots production line.
The system combines a pallet-
dispensing magazine, automatic
crate rotation for label display,and
pneumatic clamp combinations to
compress the stack and interlock
Pallet collection stations allow
continuous packing of crates and
boxes for pre-packed and loose
A retractable plate supports heavy
layer configurations. This moves the
layers to the pallet position and,
combined with rollers, presents the
crates to the preset stacking
configuration while ensuring
produce is handled gently.
"The twin automatic palletisers
have increased the production
output, reduced labour costs, and
allowed more efficient stacking of
crates and cartons onto pallets" Mr
"And the palletisers were installed
with a galvanised framework which
provides optimal system longevity
and functionality -- a major
influencing factor when installing
any new equipment into the
The Sorma Model PAL-108D
Automatic Palletiser features mild
steel galvanised construction with
production capacity of up to 1000
crates or cartons an hour.
The palletisers handle crate or
carton dimensions of 400
millimetres to 600mm in length,
250mm-400mm width, and up to
310mm in height.
The power required is 4 kilowatts
-- 50Hz -- 415volts and air
consumption is 350 normal litres a
minute @ 6 bar.
Stuart Abbott with
Tony Strangio, Produce Carton & Bin Supplies, Virginia with
Michael Brooke, J-Tech Systems sales executive.
Take no chances with
problems of bitter pit
THERE is a serious fruit defect that
makes apples unsaleable and it goes
by the name bitter pit.
This is not necessarily detectable
before harvest or during the time but
can be seen a few months after
No one yet understands the exact
process leading to this defect but
several causes have been identified
and should be considered in grower
practices to limit its occurrence.
Bitter pit starts internally and one of
its first symptoms is a water-soaked
looking skin in the affected areas.
The skin then becomes more highly
coloured. For example, deep red spots
may be surrounded by remaining
green or yellow surfaces before
becoming brown, grey or even black.
Given loss of moisture in affected
cells, small cavities may develop
under the skin and as cells die, skin
in the affected areas eventually sink.
Fruits may show no sign of the
defect at harvest but affected cells
will start dying during storage.
Damaged cells are usually on the
lower half of the fruit because this is
the last part to experience rapid cell
In severe cases, there may be cell
damage on the upper part of the
Bitter pit does not spread from one
apple to another in storage since it is
a nutrition deficiency-related
disease/disorder. It is not to be
confused with boron deficiency, which
also causes corky areas inside the
Bitter pit is a nutritional disorder
that comes about because of low
calcium in the fruit during cell
expansion -- stretching from soon
continuing through cell division, and
diminishing towards harvest.
Ensuring enough calcium in the soil
for tree uptake is important but
maintaining an appropriate nutrient
balance is key.
Potassium (K) and Magnisium (Mg)
can interfere with calcium availability.
Other physical components that can
limit calcium availability and
movements to fruits include low pH,
low soil moisture, and high shoot-to-
Within the tree, calcium travels
through the transpirational flow,
driven mainly by leaves and very little
In a situation where the shoot-to-
fruit ratio is too high - too much
foliage for a certain crop load - leaves
are competing against fruits for
A high shoot-to-fruit ratio may be a
result of high nitrogen applications or
light crop load, which in turn may be
because of several factors including
inappropriate pruning removing too
many fruit sites or too much thinning.
Anything that causes an increased
growth rate towards the end of the
fruit development will promote risks
of bitter pit - for instance, a large
amount of rainfall before harvest
following a water-deficient season.
The reason for bitter pit to appear
mainly in the bottom half of the fruit
is because this part is the last to
experience rapid cell expansion. This
is more common in early-maturing
Immature fruits in storage are more
susceptible to the disease than those
stored at the right maturity. Therefore,
the time of harvesting is very
The most common solution is to
undertake up to six foliar applications
per season, from November to March.
Calcium nitrate is often used for
early application up to mid-December
as trees require nitrogen post-bloom
and post-fruit set.
From mid-December until harvest,
calcium chloride will provide calcium
without excess nitrogen input.
Including calcium in post-harvest
fruit dip may also be used and is
critical in light cropping seasons.
Details: Courtesy Core Facts, Fruit
Low calcium in the
fruit during cell
expansion leads to
THE PLASTIC BIN SPECIALISTS
JCO BB 5602
JCO BB 450
Harvesting Bins ideal for
Cherries and Stonefruit
Inquiries and Sales
Phone 1300 406 368
Mobile: 0411 210 021 Fax: (03) 9848 3436
Moreno Global Plastics Pty Ltd
PO Box 6003 Doncaster, Victoria 3108
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