Tri Pak Tomato System new in 1999 original price reported to be $160,000
This system is largely manufactured from Stainless steel.
Brief description of operation
A standard 25 pound carton of field picked tomatoes is placed on a 12 foot long inclined metering belt Belt is speed controlled to match operators capability to load.
The tomatoes are automatically dumped to the first grading belt (30 inch wide by 10 foot 10 inches long). An operator removes any spoiled or unsellable tomatoes. This belt is also variable speed.
The tomatoes are then automatically transferred to a wash spray station and then a sanitizing spray station. There are also some buffing brushes. The tomatoes are then automatically sent through several air curtains to semi dry the tomatoes.
The tomatoes are then automatically transferred to the final grading conveyor (30 inch wide x 17 foot 6 inches long) Where an operator manually sorts by color and quality. This conveyor is also variable speed. There are three options for the tomatoes at the final grading station
Option one is the pass through to the automatic packing station which includes a Stainless Steel digital electronic dip down scale for soft landing the product into carton/crate to minimize bruising
Option two is a manual packing chute.
Option three is a shelf that holds a tomato carton for manual packing
There is a live roller conveyor (18 inches x 9 foot) that takes away packed cartons of tomatoes
The system was briefly used with good results approximately 3 pallets per hour were packed
The firm choose to buy pre-sorted tomatoes, and no longer needs the system.