Peeler keeps NQ company competitive
First Mangoes, then Rockmelons. Bananas next?
FoodStream now manufactures and supplies a mango peeler first developed by Tom Franklin at the (then) Qld Department of Primary Industries (QDPI). The first FoodStream “Model TFR342” re-engineered machine was supplied to Tropical Harvest Qld Pty Ltd in north Qld.
Tropical Harvest Qld (see www.tropicalharvestqld.com.au) process and supply dried tropical fruit. “Mechanisation of the process is critical to our business in north Qld.” Linda Abell, one of the founders of Tropical Harvest, said. “We previously had a machine based on the same principle, but it was poorly designed – with safety issues as well as poor performance”.
The mango peeler has a history with Foodstream Directors David Lewis and Gordon Young – before they had even met! During the 1990’s Gordon Young (now of FoodStream) was also involved in the project in QDPI. The DPI machine was commercialised and the technology licensed to various companies in Queensland over the subsequent years. Several machines were used at Golden Circle to produce Canned Mango Slices in the early 1990’s. David Lewis, then of Neotech Industries, designed and built the conveyors and elevators for this system.
Tom Franklin retired from the DPI and started his own company designing and building special purpose machines in Cleveland. He produced some pilot bench top mango peeling machines and has sold several of these machines to processors in Queensland. They can include either knives to cut the flesh into thin fingers, or blades to produce concentric cups of equal thickness to aid the drying of the fruit. The slicing is performed during the peeling operation to save the cost of double handling the fruit.
Foodstream Pty Ltd, have licensed the Tom Franklin design and re-engineered the machine for production using 3D modelling, laser cutting and NC machining. Currently hand-fed, the design meets international safety standards. A future version of the machine, fed by conveyor, is planned.
By changing the rollers and peeling blade profile, rockmelons (cantaloupes) can also be peeled.
FoodStream is also working on the development of a banana peeling machine, with funding support under the Qld Government “Big Ideas” program. About 50,000 tonnes of bananas are currently thrown away every year in Qld because of minor defects such as skin blemishes, or shape. Studies have identified a range of potential banana products – but they cannot be made economically without peeling technology. Tests are being carried out in cooperation with Tropical Harvest Qld – an on-going collaboration in tropical fruit processing technology.