BBC Technologies has introduced new filling machinery that’s designed to more efficiently handle small fruit.
The CURO-16 filling system is faster, more accurate and handles fruit in a gentler manner, said Jason Walker, sales and marketing manager of the New Zealand-based manufacturer of fresh produce sorting systems.
Reducing drops to prevent fruit damage remains a major focus of the equipment, he said.
As many large packers are looking to add more capacity, the 16-head, fill-by-weight machinery helps increase hourly packing capacity while not sacrificing production efficiencies, Walker said.
“It has a lot of new precision controls that enable us to get down to that one blueberry in terms of accuracy,” he said. “With a high-paying product, you don’t want to give anything away. While speed and accuracy are important, we know consumers want a really good eating experience. This equipment helps ensure the quality of fruit retained so it can pack a blueberry that remains nice, has a good shelf life and hasn’t gone moldy a week after it’s packed.”
While the machinery is designed for packing blueberries, BBC plans its next equipment release to pack other small fruit, including grapes and cherries and cherry and grape tomatoes, Walker said.
The filling system is similar to BBC’s 10-head fill-by-weight system but is easier to operate and is more flexible by allowing operators to switch between different packing options, he said.
It can pack up to 240 clamshells a minute, higher than other systems’ 180 clamshells a minute packing capabilities, Walker said.
BBC introduced the product at the Jan. 8-10 trade show at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Ga.