14 Nov 2013

EastPack invests $3m in fruit grading technology

9:53 am on 14 November 2013

Kiwifruit company EastPack has just spent $3 million on optical grading technology to sort its fruit at its Edgecumbe and Katikati packhouses in Bay of Plenty.

The new system, Compac Invision, uses LED lighting to scan the fruit for blemishes, damage and shape helping to sort it into the various categories, such as export quality or domestic.

Chief executive Tony Hawken says the grading software can scan 600 fruit a minute.

And he says the big investment is a sign of Eastpack's confidence in the future of an industry that's been in the wars.

Mr Hawken says the kiwifruit industry is just coming through the PSA disease which has affected them for the last three years and can now see a positive way forward.

He says EastPack had a solid record of investing in top planting equipment, but that went on hold for a few years until it saw the affect of PSA, but it's now confident that kiwifruit volumes will return.

EastPack is supplied by 800 growers from Hawke's Bay to Kerikeri.