Produce veteran Mike McKnight announced in early April the formation of a new company, Automated Produce Equipment, which is based in Marietta, GA.
APE provides “cutting edge produce machinery and packaging solutions primarily to potato, onion and carrot industries,” Mike said in a prepared statement. The solutions range from bin tipping to packaging and robotic palletizing, with the machinery designed to reduce labor and increase efficiency.
In addition to several other major packaging and sorting equipment manufacturers, APE has partnered with Raytec for “an affordable optical sorter for onions and potatoes,” he said.
Raytec was founded in 2001 in Parma, Italy, and today has more than 1,300 sorters installed worldwide.
The sorters are based on optical sensor, high-resolution cameras and x-ray, and the technology can be used on fresh, frozen and dry products.
Raytec’s equipment has been used in the United States for more than a decade, with onions and potatoes comprising a significant percentage of sales.
“We also have a new Master Bagger/ Baler from Upmann,” Mike added. “This reduces labor at the end of the line. Couple this with a robotic palletizer and you can save even more labor. The robot all but eliminates back injuries and workman’s comp claims.”
For more information on this new operation, go to the company’s website, http://automatedproduceequip.com, or view the APE directory listing, https://onionbusiness.com/industry-directories/automated-produce-equipment-llc/. For info on Raytec, visit http://www.raytecvision.com/en/index4.asp. And to see the equipment in use, go to YouTube videos at https://youtu.be/JQTD1c14GNo and