(UPDATED COVERAGE March 6) Paramount Citrus plans to increase capacity 75% at its Delano, Calif., packinghouse, citing increased demand for the grower-shipper’s mandarins under the Wonderful Halos label.
The expansion, with Compac Sorting Equipment, is expected to be complete in September and enable Paramount to process more than 52 million mandarins daily.
The facility typically runs from late October to about April, said Nathan Soich, marketing executive for Auckland, New Zealand-based Compac.
Compac plans an upgrade of the site’s electronic fruit pregrader and sorter from 40 lanes to 70. Compac also provided the existing technology.
The system will add an autonomous bin-stacking robot, the fourth at the site; plus six more bin filling lines for a total of 52.
After presizing and upon receipt of orders, fruit at the Paramount site goes to one of five high-speed packing cells — eight when the expansion is complete — each with a 10-lane sizer to confirm quality and distribute to net baggers. Altogether, 150 lanes of sorters will be in place.
The sorters use Compac’s InVision software. High-definition digital cameras scan passing fruit, taking up to 30 photos of each mandarin as it rotates.
“Compac systems provide us with superior and proven technology,” Jason Blake, vice president of California operations for Paramount Citrus, said in a news release.
“This facility is by far the largest and most advanced postharvest facility in the world and it exclusively uses Compac technology for automated sorting,” said David Buys, Compac sales and marketing director.
Compac is expanding too. The company plans to add more than 60 staff members.
“We’re expanding our (research and development) capabilities and after-sales support areas specifically,” Buys said.