Leading New Zealand grower, Bostock New Zealand, is processing a whopping 100 tonnes of onions per hour with new automated onion processing equipment from Tong Engineering.
Based in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, in what is claimed to be one of the cleanest and purest growing environments in the world, Bostock New Zealand has been exporting a wide variety of quality produce including onions, apples and kiwi fruit for over 30 years. As part of the company’s commitment to producing premium produce, Bostock needed to increase the capacity and efficiency of their onion grading and handling process, and Tong equipment, supplied by their local Tong dealer Dobmac Agricultural machinery, was a natural choice.
“After many years of positive growth, we are now exporting produce to over 20 different countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America,” explained Neville Gillespie from Bostock New Zealand. “With demand for our onions continuing to grow, we needed to upgrade our onion processing facility to allow us to achieve a much higher throughput whilst improving our cleaning and inspecting capabilities.”
“We chose to purchase Tong equipment, as our experience has proved it to deliver on capacity, and at a quality which lasts,” said Neville. “We have a good relationship with their New Zealand dealer Dobmac, so we were confident that our new equipment could be specified to do the job we required.”
Simon Lee, Sales Manager at Tong Engineering comments “The first phase of equipment upgrades at Bostock New Zealand allowed them to effectively receive their harvested onions with a 2.4m wide Tong Caretaker mobile vegetable grader machine, incorporating 6 rows of adjustable coils for effective removal of onion waste prior to a 4 man inspection area. Further to this we have just commissioned two fully automated custom built EasyFill box fillers.
Neville adds “Following the increased capacity achieved with the Caretaker, we added automation to the bin filling function on our bulk unloading line. We fill 5 tonne harvest bins at up to 100 tonnes per hour in good product conditions, which means we are now capable of a throughput of over 1000 tonnes per day. Even better, when Tong and Dobmac last visited the facility, we shaved an extra 17 seconds off the time to fill each bin. Across 200 bins for the day, that’s the equivalent of another hour of operation, allowing us to process another 100 tonne into storage. The Caretaker, coupled with the fully automatic fillers, has resulted in our throughput growing out of sight!”
“By upgrading their onion processing systems to higher capacity, automatic onion loading, cleaning and filling equipment, Bostock have really turned the efficiency of their processes around. With our dedicated Tong dealer Dobmac Machinery on hand, Bostock have a local point of contact to discuss any future projects to ensure labour continues to be utilised in the most efficient way, whilst keeping downtime to a minimum,” added Simon.