After the Kiwifruit crop left our orchard in the bins on the truck it travelled for about 15 minutes to the complex where it is packed, cooled and stored before shipping. This is a series of photos showing what happens during packing.( this is our fruit in the photos ).
This is part of the packing shed ( there are 2 on this site ) showing the space needed for all the stages of packing. The bins are stored under cover for up to 2 days when they arrive so the picking scar can dry which helps the fruit to keep longer. Each bins is then automatically lifted in a cradle and gently tipped so the fruit rolls onto the moving escalator of rollers and into the shed. Here it moves across rollers where it is graded. A machine with a photographic eye does the first part and then it is seen by human eyes. ( photos 3 and 4 ) It rolls over in front of them so they can judge the shape, look for blemishes or damage and remove those.( you can judge the size of the fruit by comparing it with the graders hands )It was BIG!
It then travels on and gently falls into moving cups that weigh it ( photo 2 )and release it at the correct size / weight packing arm ( so all the fruit in one pack is much the same size ) (photos 5 and 6 packers ) When each tray / pack is full the wrapping is tucked in the lid put down and the boxes are stacked on pallet bases. The documentation is added ( telling size, grower #, packing shed code , # of fruit in pack, date etc ) and the pallet strapped up. The pallets are then moved to the coolstore to have the heat taken out of the fruit. They are stored at just above zero in the coolstores till they are shipped out to countries all around the world. At every stage checking takes place to make sure all the rules are met and the fruit meets the correct standard, has the correct number of fruit in a box etc.The temperatures in the coolstore are also checked.( click to enlarge the photos )
I used to work in a packhouse like this as the Quality Controller and then later was an Auditor of Quality Systems in lots of packhouses and coolstores. ( so know all the procedures )More modern labour saving changes are happening all the time - more photos on some of these improvements next post.