International Produce Limited (IPL) adopted the Base Handling Products pallet lifts after quality concerns associated with previous methods including conveyors and bucket lifts.
Base Handling Products provided four pallet lifts, with two more soon to be installed, to help move tomatoes and grapes from ground floor by raising the fruits in stages and allowing for safe removal of each tray once at mezzanine level.
Phil Wright, IPL projects engineering manager, told FoodProductionDaily.com they are running four pallet lifts now and the system is expected to be fully operational in June.
“With the pallet lifter there are no cleaning issues and we are making sure the food quality is not affected.
“We are always looking for ways to lessen product damage and this really ticked all the boxes.
“We went from conveyors to bucket lifts which were slightly better and this solution is better still and if it goes well it could be rolled out over our other businesses.
“It is also easier to decant at a comfortable height, it has reduced labour and it means no health and safety issues.”
The aim is to protect waxed products, such as lemons, oranges and most other citrus fruits but the machines are not yet installed for citrus.
He added: “The problem with citrus is they are coated with wax and the wax wears off and gets on the belts making it harder to clean.”
IPL are one of the first companies in England to employ the system and the sixth lift, built into the ground, has been specifically designed for them with a rotating turntable, enabling decanting to the appropriate line.
Five of the machines will work from ground to mezzanine level, while the sixth will be installed above a pit at ground level.
The steel lifts have a safe working load of 1200 kilograms, a lift height of 3500mm and a purpose built proven lift control system.