Reemoon is a name that has become increasingly familiar in packaging factories across Southern Africa and the Chinese company’s South African office recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.
It is run by Tzaneen, managed by Gerard Meyer who has been with Reemoon since moving to South Africa. Gerard has worked in the citrus industry since the mid-1980s, first as an extension officer with Outspan (precursor to Citrus Research International) and later as a citrus packing center manager for eight years.
First adapters of Fruscan version S7
Reemoon has redeveloped its software equipped with completely new cameras to offer the Fruscan S7 version. The world’s first Fruscan packing line has just been installed at the Ambrosia packing station in Hoedspruit, where lemons are packed most of the year.
State-of-the-art technology in action at Ambrosia Packing Station, Hoedspruit (photos courtesy of Reemoon)
“What we can now see with the camera is totally different and more detailed than before,” says Gerard, Sales and Service Manager for Reemoon South Africa. “In the old system, we looked at a percentage of the total area covered by the marks, but this system learns to distinguish each mark. In the case of citrus fruits, for example, the machine distinguishes between thrips, or the red cochineal, or wind marks. If you notice an increase in the incidence of a particular problem, the camera can be set to focus specifically on that pest.
In the past, it was difficult to notice light marks on dark limes, Gerard explains: with Fruscan, these marks are now as clear as glass.
“The real plus is Reemoon itself. I’m so grateful they came to South Africa,” says Gert Bezuidenhout, the owner of Ambrosia where the Fruscan S7E version was installed. “I get ongoing support and they pay immediate attention to my needs. I really feel like they are working for me. Reemoon is also more affordable than other machines on the market. ‘use Reemoon, in my opinion.’
Reemoon will install the same technology in an apple packaging line in Bethlehem, Free State, where the new Royal Gala season now begins. Before, the optical sorting of two-tone apples often posed problems, explains Gérard: the dominant red is recognized by the camera as a color while the secondary yellow streaks are rather interpreted as imperfections or defects.
“It’s going to open up a whole new world for us in the apple world,” he says. “We can configure the camera to distinguish seven different colors and not confuse them with marks.”
The grader also collects apples with internal core rot which are sent directly for juicing.
No time off for Reemoon technicians while packing stations are operating
“We listen to our customers and when they have a problem, we act proactively and resolve it immediately,” explains Gérard. “At our offices in Tzaneen, we transport all the parts so that the packing houses don’t waste time when there is a problem and a new part is needed.”
At any time, there is at least one technician and one salesperson on standby. Reemoon has technicians across the country, having recently opened an office in Citrusdal, but they are looking for a technician to represent Reemoon in the Eastern Cape.
Their technicians are certified electricians with their wiring licenses and all business with the local farming community is conducted in English and Afrikaans; there is never a need for a Reemoon user to communicate directly with the factory.
“We do everything and we can do everything,” he said. “When you call us, you are talking to a South African. Our policy is not to go on leave while the fitness station is operating. This is where we are different. We do not use any subcontractors.
During the packing period, Reemoon pays a free courtesy visit to each packing station running its packing line once a month. The warranty on Reemoon is between one and two years, depending on the packing station.
Reemoon sponsors the CRI workshops and biannual symposium. Their demo version is taken to the CRI symposium when not hired by Cape Town and Westfalia citrus packers to pack avocados in Mpumalanga.
Optical sorting technology is continually improved and updated with exciting new developments on the way. “We are working very hard with other industry players on new developments,” he adds.
Given the enormous volume growth of, for example, citrus fruits and the oversupply of the market, fruit growers are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate themselves and obtain higher prices, and in response Upon request, Reemoon also offers an additional system capable of determining the Brix levels of individual fruits.
Reemoon will soon expand to blueberries as well.