Why a platform is the answer to future-proofing your packhouse

Posted by Andrew McQueen on Dec 7, 2016 9:35:11 AM

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Our industry is currently experiencing a high rate of development and what is available now will soon be yesterday’s technology. Because technology is moving faster than ever, we designed Spectrim as a future-proof platform

Future-proofing often sounds like a buzz word used by marketing departments, but what does it really mean? The Spectrim platform has been designed with future upgrades in mind, giving packhouses the ability to upgrade hardware and software as new technology becomes available. Compared to an inspection system that has been designed as a product with a limited lifetime value for your packhouse (as you are constrained by today’s technology), investing in a platform means that your packhouse can stay at the leading edge of technology for longer without requiring large amounts of capital.

5 key reasons you should invest in a future-proofed platform

  1. ReliabilityPlatform spectrim image.jpg

Reliability is about uptime and is important with any piece of equipment in your packhouse. If you’re unable to use a piece of equipment it is worthless and costs your packhouse money if it becomes a bottleneck. With the Spectrim platform, our team carefully selected which materials and best design practices to ensure reliability with the operating demands of a packhouse.   

  1. Serviceability & maintenance

In industrial applications where machinery runs for up to 5,000 hours per year, even the highest quality equipment needs to be maintained to continue to operate at its peak performance. Because uptime is generally a high priority, the ease and speed of service and maintenance (both preventative and corrective) is an important factor in a packhouse meeting its goals. The Spectrim platform has been designed in a way where accessibility to components is maximized and high value components like cameras are isolated from the dirt and dust of the packhouse. Being built as a platform also means that modules can be easily swapped in and out as required. It's important to remember that maintenance costs are key to calculating total-cost-of-ownership as some vendors will catch you out with high-margin service and spare parts.

  1. Regulatory compliance – hygiene and safetyHygiene spectrim image.jpg

One of things we have a seen a lot recently is changing guidelines and regulations, in two particular areas: machine safety and food safety. We’ve designed Spectrim to meet the most stringent of requirements today but recognize that these are likely to change again so have focused on a modular system that will allow for upgrades along the way, because what good is a system that will last for 20 years if you’re only allowed to use it for 2? A platform allows your packhouse to get all the advancements in both food hygiene and machine safety as they become available.

  1. Upgradeability

Like the regulatory guidelines, technology is also constantly changing. Fresh produce is a quickly growing industry that has yet to meet the level of technology in adjacent sectors like meat and dairy. With so much technology investment occurring, any system that doesn’t keep up with the latest innovations is likely to be superseded within 2 or 3 years. We designed Spectrim with a number of future upgrades already in mind because we wanted customers to have the option of purchasing the latest modules when released, rather than having to weigh up the decision of buying a whole new system.

  1. Get what you need

Similar to the point above, upgrading isn’t just about getting the latest and greatest, it can just be about taking a stepped approach towards the perfect system for your needs. If you’re able to forecast the technology demands of your business, you may be able to meet today’s needs as a stepping stone towards tomorrow’s needs. Additionally, if you haven’t got all the capital to spend today, you can phase the investment by building the system up over a few seasons, gaining incremental value each year until the state-of-the-art system is in place.spectrim-blog2.jpg

To wrap it all up, future-proofing a platform isn’t just about reliability or upgradeability, it’s about considering all the different events that could impact a packhouse over the expected life of the platform. The fresh produce industry is constantly changing and so are the requirements of our customers, nobody can predict what the requirements of packhouses will be in five years, but at least with a platform we can make the necessary changes as required. We’ve endeavored to include as much of these considerations in Spectrim as possible so that the Spectrim cabinet serves not just as a product, but as a longstanding platform in the industry for years to come.

So, next time you think about investing in equipment that you need to stand the test of time, make sure you look at the total value both it the short term and long term, looking at the total cost of ownership rather than just the initial upfront investment.

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Topics: Spectrim, defect sorting

Andrew McQueen

Written by Andrew McQueen

Product Manager: Inspection Systems