Haith is set to innovate the transfer of delicate produce in pack houses and factories with the introduction of its patent-pending Pro-Flow Transfer Chute.
The invention protects sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots and other sensitive produce from bruising and damage when moving from one conveyor to another.
Haith has been testing the Pro-Flow Transfer Cushion at several UK sites over the last few months. Following reports that the new feature has dramatically reduced damage, Haith has put the chute on general sale.
Haith’s Pro-Flow Transfer Chute is completely different from existing methods of transferring crops between conveyors. The new product creates a trampoline effect by tensioning a loop of PVC material between two stainless steel tie rods. This creates an air pocket which cushions the crop as it is transferred.
The cushioning effect created by Haith eliminates the bruising that can occur with gravity transfer. Haith’s Pro-Flow Transfer Chute offers greater cushioning when compared to traditional steel chutes. While steel chutes can be padded, they are still subject to wear and when the soft landing detaches, foreign body contamination can occur.
Haith’s Transfer Chute can be fitted to conveyors and machines, such as even flows and box fillers, with Haith’s design engineers considering the belt speed, drive roll diameter, drop height and produce type to tailor each chute to precise needs of each application.
“The Haith Pro-Flow Transfer Chute is a response to our customers’ needs,” says David Haith, engineering director of Haith Group. “In certain situations, the way traditional conveyor systems handle produce is too rough, and the crop can be damaged. The Pro Flow Transfer Chute is the solution to this problem.
“The best innovations are often the simplest but can make a huge difference. The Haith Pro-Flow Transfer Cushion may look simple, but its development has taken a lot of time and calculation. Our hugely experienced design team have done an excellent job in developing the Pro-Flow Transfer Chute. According to our test sites, introducing the chute has practically eliminated damage to sweet potatoes, potatoes and carrots moving between conveyors.
“Many packers are now employing optical graders with multiple outlets, up to 12 in some cases, to satisfy the increased demand for uniform sizing and appearance in the end pack. The Haith Pro-Flow Transfer Cushion ensures that the vast majority of the crop meets the end customer’s requirement in terms of appearance.
“We will be incorporating the Pro-Flow Transfer Chute into all of our lines from now on and are looking at how we can retrofit it into existing systems.”
Incorporated as a limited company in 1964, Tickhill Engineering, which trades as Haith has a long tradition of innovating vegetable handling. The company invented the modern barrel washer in 1961, developed the brush roller bed in the 1970s, which was superseded in the ‘80s by the Hydro Flow washer. The company introduced the Self Clean washer at the beginning of this century.