Onions require great care to avoid bruising and damage. This example of a 25-ton per hour line demonstrates a range of on-demand gentle handling solutions. Onions are received from field trucks or field bins via a Bin Tipper – Manual, Hydraulic or Electric are all suitable options. The produce is then elevated to a Screen Piece Remover where unwanted debris and soil is removed. If required, manual inspection may occur at this point before the produce is ‘topped’ via a Fan Topper. Sizing occurs next in this example, with produce brushed then graded into five sizes using a Lift Roller Sizer. Produce then has the option to transfer directly to the optical grader or bins via Vertical Bin Fillers for temporary storage.
For produce going to bins, an Automatic Bin Management system is used to feed empty bins to the Vertical Bin Fillers and deliver full bins to a single location for efficient forklift pickup. When temporary storage bins can then be entered back into the line via the Automatic Bin Unloader System, which can take bins delivered up to three high, unstack them and tip automatically into the re-feed elevator.
Produce travelling over the optical grader is sized and graded without labour and directed via a final manual inspection and an Evenflow surge hopper for weighing, packing and palletising. If there is a mismatch of capacity between weighing machine and produce, the excess can be easily diverted to bin fillers as shown and used at a later time. In this example, Vertical Bin Fillers and Electric Bin Tippers without automation are shown as a comparison.