Reedley, CA, is home to Sun Valley Packing Company, a fruit grower in the Central Valley of California. With 3,500 acres of land producing fruit from May through September, the operation has 50-plus conveyor lines carrying single pieces of fruit funneling to 10 production lines. There, the fruit is packaged and the cases are coded, with automation, efficiency, and uptime being critical.
To meet Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) milestones that call for a GS1-128 bar code on each case of fruit, information on the label must include the variety, product description, lot number, pack/Meeting the PTI harvest date, and grower’s GTIN number. Sun Valley Packing has multi-pack lines in which one box of nectarines may be followed by a box of plums, followed by a box of peaches, etc. Each case must be labeled quickly, with no interruption or downtime.
The Diagraph PA6000 E-Series all-electric labeling systems does the trick, with Sato S8408 print engines, and integrated software from Produce Jet, printing and applying a 4-inch by 2-inch label on each case of fruit. A vision system identifies each case and sends the data to the Diagraph labeling system, specifying the information that needs to be printed and applied for that specific case. “We run at 100-110 fpm on the line speed, with about 30 inches in-between boxes,” says Alfred Pereschica, plant manager. “There can be a lot of variables. The same variety doesn’t necessarily get the same pack, or even the same box. That’s why the information is so important. You have to be able to identify what the box is and has in it within a millisecond, and be able to process the information so you can put one label on this box and a label with different information on the next box.”
For more information, go to www.diagraph.com.