Baloian Farms Updates Bell Pepper Packing Facility with New Machinery to Increase Capabilities
FRESNO, CA - I think we all know that life can get a little hectic at times—but the world keeps on turning, so we find ways to make it run more smoothly and efficiently. For Baloian Farms, this means not only finding a way, but creating a new way all together. The company recently crafted, with the help and expertise of Exeter Engineering, bell pepper packing machinery to cater to its needs and further grow, helping operations to run more effectively thanks to the new capabilities offered.
“The new equipment is a bell pepper packing line,” Director of Facilities Jon Baloian tells me, before diving into what this means for both the produce and production capabilities. “The machine helps to clean, sort, grade, and pack bell peppers. We are replacing about 75 percent of our existing line and updating to more modern technology. The key component is changing over to an optical sizer. The machine has been redesigned to be as flexible as possible to meet the varied needs of our customers.”
Located in Fresno, California, the machine resides in the company’s packing house. Baloian went through a two-year process to research and find the right machinery, but now that the implementation of the machinery has reached completion, the company is enjoying the newly installed infrastructure—which includes new mezzanine, concrete work, and electrical improvements.
The journey to the finish line for this project went through phases—it took three months to fabricate, two and a half months to physically install, and one and a half months to fine tune. It was well worth the wait, though, Jon tells me.
“The two biggest known improvements of the equipment are improved sizing and sorting capability and increased volume of fruit handling,” he clarifies. “With improved sizing and sorting capability, there is a slight reduction of labor but, more importantly, a more consistent quality when it comes to sizing and sorting of fruit. The new machine is able to handle a higher volume of fruit, too, meaning we can pack more boxes in a given day. This will be essential during peak times when our production may need to spike due to hot weather, extra orders, etc. This will also slightly shorten the day-to-day schedule, meaning less double time and overtime.”
In addition to these main points, the new machinery will help with real-time data flow by allowing Baloian to track the sorting process in real-time to give sales and marketing more accurate information on what is being produced. It is also ergonomically designed, with packing lines and belts built at ideal heights so workers won’t need to reach or slouch. This, ultimately, reduces the amount of box lifting by about 25 percent, Jon tells me.
All in all, this new step in the company’s operations will benefit capacity and workflow, establishing opportunities for overall growth.
“With our old line, we were maxed out on production for much of the season,” he shares. “The new equipment is set up to not only alleviate the current need to push through more product on a given day if needed, but it was built large enough so that, when it’s time to replace the remainder of the line, we can have the capability to increase our production to around 150 percent of where we are today.”
More fruit readily available? Sounds like a win all around to me!