Yesterday, the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo (we just call it the Great Lakes Expo) wrapped up in Grand Rapids, MI. Unlike last year’s event, exhibitors and attendees enjoyed a relatively temperate climate absent 2013’s bitter cold and snow. Well, at least it was temperate outside because it certainly wasn’t inside, 39°F, when the Durand-Wayland team was setting up the booth that included the newest (and globally best having enjoyed 25+ years of success elsewhere in the world) entrant to the domestic US optical sorting technology fray, Ellips TrueSort.
Earlier this year, Durand partnered with Ellips B.V., Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to bring to our current customer base and prospective customers (which is the majority of North America and beyond) an optical grading and sorting technology whose results can actually be trusted . . . according to the people who use this type of technology, growers and packers. Thanks to a forward-looking Board of Directors and leadership team, we’ve been able to present to the trade show masses (and select on-site presentations) a demonstration sizer equipped with Ellips internal and external grading modules and exit controls. We brought Ellips out from behind our curtain at the PMA Fresh Summit in October and then again this week.
As the guys in Michigan are particularly interested in the aforementioned, and important to the Michigan economy, apple, we graded and sorted several varieties donated to the cause by generous current, and prospective, Durand grower-partners. We optically sorted out water core and moldy core in the red varieties, variable firmness in Mac’s, and every external defect offered by the orchards including finger bruising across the board including on the golden varieties, russeting, limb rubs, stem punctures and cuts, among others. Had there been other internal defects, like browning, available to run, we would have successfully graded those too.
On Tuesday, we had the occasion to be challenged by and entertain (or, say “amaze”), the packinghouse operator that uses a competing technology. When this guy walked up, he asked, very simply, (as he picked up a Mac from a sorting table), “can you pick out these two bruises that are right next to each other?” “These bruises” were the size of an eraser tip on an old school wooden pencil and barely physically separated. We asked our booth guest, operator of the competing technology, to put his chosen apple on the sizer so that we could grade it. The apple made its way through the external box first, followed by the internal box, across the scale and then to its designated exit. When he, and we, looked at the on-screen images and we pointed out ‘his bruises,’ he said, ‘wow, I wish that our (enter competing technology name here) could do that.’ We’ll continue to work with this future customer to introduce Ellips to his packinghouse when they’re tired of shipping defected fruit to their customers and sending perfectly good fruit to the cull bin. It is all about satisfying customers and making more money after all . . . isn’t it?
The Durand and Ellips road show is coming to a town near you in 2015. If you’re interested in a reliable, accurate and user-friendly grading technology that you actually own (and can’t be repossessed), join us for a demo in Savannah, GA, during the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference, January 9 – 11 and in a partner booth in Berlin, Germany, during Fruit Logistica, February 4 – 6, among other 2015 events. Or, if you can’t wait and want to put a really great present under your holiday tree, please feel free to call us, 800-241-2308, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to schedule the first meeting on your road to better grading results, more satisfied customers and improved profitability.