Dubbed the Ultimate Cherry line, Stemilt Growers’ massive new high-tech packing line in Wenatchee, Wash., has 32 lanes that use cameras to sort and size the fruit with more automated packaging options and increased capacities.
“There are 32 lanes of optical sizing and sorting that will be able to push both dark-sweet and rainier/Skylar Rae cherries through so we can get more out the door in less time,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s communications manager, said in a news release.
The equipment also features in-line hydrocooling, bypassing the need for jet cooling boxes before they are shipping, saving time and getting cherries to their destination soon, Shales said.
“Cherries are very perishable fruits and we want retailers and consumers to benefit from getting them at maximum freshness,” she said in the release.
With the addition of more lanes planned, for a total of 48 lanes, the company will be able not only to pack different varieties, but various consumer packs. The line has three clamshell fillers, packing Universal Product Code-scannable clamshells, as well as pack top-seal packages.
“As the Ultimate line reaches full capacity with 48 lanes in the near future, we will be able to pack dark-sweet and light varieties simultaneously on parallel lines,” says Shales. “This gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility and unique position in the industry.”
This flexibility is going to allow Stemilt to not only run multiple varieties, but also pack various types of consumer packs. The line comes with three automated clam fillers to pack UPC scannable clamshells, and pack and seal the up-and-coming top seal packages.