May 01, 2024

Packing 250 tonnes of apples per day, deploying the Aporo technology into the Taylor Corporation’s facility was a logical step to increasing productivity and removing labour challenges.

The Taylor family have been in the apple business for over 100 years and Taylor Corporation was formed in 1995 by Kelvin and Lynette Taylor.

Packing 250 tonnes of apples per day, the Taylor’s have always stayed in front of the industry and boast an impressive array of automation technology in their facility.

They live by the moto that standing still is going backwards and partnering with Jenkins Freshpac Systems to deploy the Aporo technology into their facility was a logical next step for the Taylor’s.

Kelvin Taylor, the second generation of four that have worked in the Taylor businesses, is very quick to describe the driver of their decision to install seven of a planned fourteen Aporo II robotic producer packers in their state-of-the-art commit to pack facility in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

“The key driver to invest in the Aporo’s was the lack of labour” says Kelvin in an interview in 2022.  New Zealand, like most of the world, has been plagued with ongoing challenges to secure labour and when this was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, something had to be done. Kelvin goes on to say “the key advantage is they turn up to work every day. You turn them on, and they go”. In a challenging labour market, many in the industry are forced to take any labour they can get and this does not generally translate to the most reliable or productive work-force. The speed the Aporo I and Aporo II pack at varies depending on the variety and size of the produce, however it is not uncommon to see them sitting consistently at 120-130 fruit per minute which exceeds the rate that most people can pack at for a whole shift.

“Right now we are not running the team hard so have the Aporo packing at around 80 fruit per minute, but of course they never get tired, they just keep on going which is pretty hard for a person to do when doing this type of work”. While the Aporo technology is the most advanced in its field, it is also extremely intuitive and easy to operate. In a modern pack-house the operation of equipment is getting increasingly complex, while the interface of the Aporo can be likened to the ease of use of an iPad. “The operating of these machines is really simple and the team have found them great”.

In terms of return on investment, the Taylor’s have seen a significant labour reduction by deploying the Aporo technology in their pack-house, hence their eagerness to double down with a planned second tranche of Aporo II planned soon with New Zealand agent Jenkins Freshpac Systems.

The first install of Aporo has seen a significant reduction in labour for the Taylors which has validated their decision to automate. “This has been an important part of future proofing our business as reliable consistent output is becoming increasingly difficult to secure”.