June 30, 2005

So I was reading the local classified advertisements...

…and I saw a listing for a free riding mower. We are looking for a riding mower for the orchard but as we have two perfectly good walk-behind mowers, there is no immediate justification for spending that money.

I called the number and although the mower had already been claimed, there was some other “farm equipment”. I inquired and was told that it was a complete apple packing line!

Needless to say, I grabbed a tape measure and some tools and was out of the house like a shot. Rented a trailer that following Monday and brought the line over to our farm. Here are some pictures:

Here is the beginning of the line — apples are dumped into one end of this and rows of brushes rotate and scrub off leaves and dirt. There is a pump and spray nozzles that were taken off — simple enough to replace. Obviously, this equipment has been sitting outside for several years and needs some work but all the moving parts turn and it should be a simple matter to sandblast and repaint with food-grade enamel.

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This is the middle of the line — apples come from the scrubber and are placed onto a white conveyor belt for visual sorting.

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Finally, after being sorted, the apples wind up here where the vanes gradually open up letting larger and larger fruit drop through. This machine grades the apples by size and separates them into six different groups.

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As I said, these units will require a good bit of work to refurbish but the price was right (who can argue with FREE!).

Since I will be disassembling them to clean, sand blast and paint, I am also planning to cut them in half lengthwise. The previous owner had blocked off half with pieces of wood but I am planning to actually cut the machines as we do not need the full 48” wide capacity. This will reduce the weight a lot too so I can mount them on casters and store them out of the way when not needed. The final sizer is not needed since we are only going to grind and press our fruit; the mechanical parts match the other two machines though so the sizer will become a parts resource for repairing / maintaining / modifying the other two machines.

Posted by DaveH at June 30, 2005 01:00 PM