Two years on, Wyma carrot line performance still impresses
Subject: Two years on, Wyma carrot line performance still impresses
Business: B.D. & M.D. Nicol & Son Pty Ltd
Location: South Australia, Australia
Customers: Major supermarket chains, wholesalers, independent green grocers and vegetable processors Australia-wide
Australia has one of the highest food retail concentrations in the developed world, with the two large supermarkets chains Coles and Woolworths holding about 80% of the market. Combined with increasing consumer demand for tasty, fresh and well-presented carrots, the pressure is on growers to invest in seed technology and post-harvest management techniques that will give them an edge and help secure their position as preferred supplier for one of these two supermarkets.
B.D. & M.D. Nicol & Son Pty Ltd supplies supermarket chains and independent retailers with carrots all year round. The family company decided it was time to lift the polishing quality of its carrots to ensure future customer satisfaction and reduce the maintenance costs its old polishers were generating. The Wyma Mega-Polishers first appeared to be an ideal solution to these inefficiencies. However, large amounts of dirt inhibiting the old equipment’s performance, labor-intensive removal of stones, an existing bin filling system that damaged produce and an ineffective sizer also created headaches from a quality of output and cost perspective.
As Doug Nicol talked about his old line with John Roest, Wyma Sales Manager in Australia, it quickly became apparent that a complete line upgrade was necessary to address these issues. At the end of 2011, the Wyma after-sales team was sent to install the new Wyma 15 t/hr carrot line.
“Wyma has maintained a high-quality service throughout the whole process, from initial contact with our local representative to the final commissioning of the line. The solution they presented to us met our physical and financial constraints, and of course addressed all of the inefficiencies our old line was creating. The installation team did an exceptional job and worked hard to get the line going within a minimum amount of time,”
Among many components, the line includes a Wyma Super Tip Bin Tipper, Wet Hopper, Hedgehog, Flume Destoner, Mega-Polisher, Lift Roller Sizer and multiple Vertical Bin Fillers. Due to the heavy clay soil, large amounts of mud can come in the field bins on wet days. A Wet Hopper gives the carrots a pre-wash which removes excess mud, dirt and debris. The Hedgehog that follows complements this mud and dirt removal process, while also removing carrot tops.
Carrots are then flumed towards the Flume Destoner. Carrots travel across the stone chute, where water is pumped up to separate stones and remaining heavy clods from produce. This intensive dirt, debris and stone removal is crucial to the effectiveness of all downstream equipment. The Wyma Mega-Polisher, the Lift Roller Sizer, and the Vertical Bin Fillers that follow can hence operate to their optimal capacity, providing a consistent output and maximizing pack-out rates.
“We just had to invest in the best equipment that would set our business up for the future. Our aim was to invest in new post-harvest technology to make sure we could improve our quality to maintain our current contracts and customer base. Two years after the installation of the Wyma carrot line, our expectations have been exceeded. Our customers were so impressed with the quality improvements and consistency of carrot presentation that demand increased rapidly. We have not only increased our returns, but also reduced our operating and maintenance costs. The line is also in full stainless steel which allows us to meet the supermarket’s strict food and hygiene programs.”
B.D. & M.D. Nicol & Son Pty Ltd was founded in 1963 by Barry, Doug’s father. It consists of a 250-hectare property in Virginia that grows carrots all year round harvesting, washing and packing on a daily basis. It supplies major supermarket chains, wholesalers, independent green grocers and vegetable processors Australia wide.