Patented belt drive – a longer service life and better performance
With 310 farmers, 120 employees, and 960 ha of cultivated land, the "Genossenschaft der Obsterzeuger Schlanders" or GEOS for short, a fruit growers' cooperative founded in 1946, is one of the largest members of the "Vinschgauer Produzenten" (VI.P), a producers' association in the Vinschgau region. The cooperative organizes its working year around the optimal ripeness of their fruit: in carefully determined time slots, the farmers harvest 70,000 tons of apples and deliver them to two locations in Schlanders. The fruit is stored in controlled atmosphere cells, guaranteeing virtually no loss of freshness, until it is sorted, packaged, and shipped over the course of the following season – about half of it to other countries.
Seven pomiculture cooperatives with a joint presence: since the "Vinschgauer Produzenten" (VI.P) decided in 2007 to pool the sales effort for their crops – around two billion apples per year – the individual cooperatives have been able to focus even more on the quality and efficiency of their production. When the new logistics interface between storage, sorting, and packaging in Schlanders was in its first stages of planning, there were already two very convincing showcase objects close by: in the MIVOR cooperative in Latsch and TEXEL in Naturns, both realized by LTW.
Performance expectations are high: every type of apple is graded by quality, color, and size in the automatic sorting system, and then divided into one of around 50 different food items – the apples are temporarily stored in the new high-bay warehouse, awaiting the customers' orders. A typical order looks like this: 18 kg boxes, each with 135 fruits. The complexity of the logistics requires great organization. It is worth remembering that the more accurately GEOS works, the more profit the farmers make.
LTW comes out on top in a points-based selection procedure with weighted quality and price criteria. The company is particularly impressive, not just for smooth implementation, but also for the eight single-mast stacker cranes, which are among the most innovative on the market. The patented deflection belt drive of the lifting carriage is the first of its kind in South Tyrol. As well as a long lifespan and better performance, it is also low-maintenance and does not require lubrication, unlike a cable drive – which is a distinct advantage in the hygiene-sensitive food industry.