Packhouse Automation

Packhouse Automation

After traveling through a nylate-treated water bath and under high-pressure washers, apples enter the pack house. Leaves are manually removed, and brushes dry the fruit before it reaches the optical sorting and grading equipment.

Pre-sizing diverts outsize fruit and composite grades to separate lines, while the remaining apples pass through colour and infra-red cameras on six lanes. 40 individual photographs of each apple are evaluated by computer, which then diverts it to 24 tray lines and four rotary dry bin fillers. This technology allows us to pack a combination of 24 different colour types and sizes.


Each grade is treated with the same care; even juicing apples are placed gently into bins – not dropped – to avoid bruising.

Once the fruit is trayed and packed into cartons, a robotic arm lifts and stacks each carton onto pallets. It can stack a thousand cartons an hour without the need for human labour.

From here, pallets move to a strapping line capable of straightening, bracing and strapping 20 pallets per hour. Evenly-stacked and vertical pallets minimise problems when the container is loaded.


During the off-season, the pack house undergoes three months of mechanical maintenance and cleaning. This regime has all but eliminated mechanical downtime, which is typically no more than five hours per season. The BRC-accredited pack house has the capacity to pack a million cartons, if required.