UK: Yield Control System for Eric Wall Nurseries

A 34 station Marco Yield Control System installed for Sussex based Eric Wall Nurseries Ltd is playing a crucial role at the company’s tomato production centre at Barnham near Chichester. Established in 1977, Eric Wall Ltd is still a family run business and, with almost 35 acres of glasshouse, this makes it one of the UK’s largest growers of tomatoes.

The accurate, manual packing of tomatoes presents a number of significant challenges, especially varieties that are packed on the vine. Marco’s YCM system has significantly improved productivity in the Sussex packhouse. To simplify the packing process, a simple light array on the LineMaster weighing scale shows the operator when the target weight is reached for each pack, without them having to consider the actual weight value.
The YCM automatic optimization (AO) software constantly monitors pack weight trends and makes necessary target weight adjustments in the background. Direct customer benefits include virtual elimination of costly giveaway/overpack, minimized waste and optimized labour resource.

For this installation, Eric Wall Nurseries have also invested in a Marco ECM off-line ‘e’ weighing station to ensure pack weights consistently meet EU regulations. The ECM software can be set for specific sample sizes and frequencies relating to the number of packs, which need to be manually checked by QA operators. Results are presented in an easy-to-understand format and in addition to providing essential compliance data, the system can be configured to provide unambiguous prompts that allow management to fine tune packing line parameters.
Managing Director Chris Wall is delighted with the results achieved so far: “We are passionate about the tomatoes we grow. There are five main varieties and we are seeing an increased demand for pre-packed product on the vine. The Marco system has brought significant improvements to our packhouse productivity and giveaway has been reduced. This is particularly important with the larger tomato varieties where giveaway can be significant if accurate controls are not implemented. Operator training is now very simple and we can monitor the performance of individual packers. In parallel the ‘e’ weighing system simplifies and reduces our statutory QA requirements. Overall this gives us increased packhouse visibility and control, which is vital in today’s highly competitive fresh produce market place.”


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