On Tuesday, Sept. 18, apple growers in Michigan were treated to the first of four different in-field demonstrations of a new vacuum-assist apple harvesting system developed by DBR Conveyor Concepts, LLC. The unit has been in development the past several years, and partners at DBR had been looking forward to displaying it in action, and getting feedback from growers.
“This is a revolutionary development for the apple industry,” noted Michigan State University’s Phil Schwallier, one of MSU’s organizers of the event, who has compared the unit to such advancements as controlled atmosphere storage and 1-MCP.
Phil Brown of Phil Brown Welding, a partner in DBR Conveyor Concepts whose company will be responsible for manufacturing the unit, says there are a couple slightly different versions of the system being used in the field in both Michigan and in the West, where Washington apple growers are also kicking the tires. Along with his partners, apple growers Mike Rasch and Chuck Dietrich, he’s hoping for commercial availability in 2013.
For some background on the vacuum-assist apple harvester, including how it was developed and since modified, click here.