Calls for automation with local support

Feb. 5, 2022 | 5 Min read
Dealing with local manufacturers is now more important than ever given supply chain issues.

Fruit packers and processors Australia-wide are now more than ever demanding local support from automated solutions providers,” says Hayden Stewart, director of P&C Automation.

This includes requirements for in-region after-sales support for maintenance and breakdowns, along with Australian-based engineering, design, and manufacture of equipment.

Mr Stewart said packers and processors across Australia have been experiencing issues when sourcing their equipment and automated solutions through offshore suppliers.

“People tell me they are seeing issues ranging from a lack of local industry knowledge during the sales phase, through to delivery delays due to shipping, and a lack of in-region team members for installations. The lack of in-region team members is also causing limited after-sales service for maintenance and breakdown support.”

Mr Stewart said these issues have been affecting the outcome of solution investments in these facilities – in some cases to the point where equipment is left sitting uninstalled due to not meeting seasonal installation schedules, or installed equipment not meeting operational requirements, causing reduced production throughput or higher labour usage.

As a local Queensland based company, P&C Automation is meeting this demand for fit-for-purpose equipment and local support by increasing capacity and capability for their Australian-designed, manufactured and supported postharvest automation solutions.

Mr Stewart said P&C Automation has recently invested in a new head office and assembly factory located in the south-western Brisbane suburb of Sumner.

“The new facility allows us to have a centralised team servicing Australia-wide. This space will now allow us to also expand our team, helping to meet our clients’ requirements for in-region after-sales service for the solutions we provide.

“This facility also has the addition of our new equipment assembly area. This will allow us to offer larger assembly capability for our ever-growing palletising solution range and custom equipment, which was previously limited due to not having a dedicated facility for this purpose.”

Mr Stewart said current growth in the Australian fruit packing and processing industry, along with ongoing labour shortages, is pushing operators to implement new automated equipment and solutions to meet increases in throughput, improve operational efficiency and future-proof their business.

“Our solutions are custom designed to suit each client,” Mr Stewart said. “We spend the time to collaborate with our clients to assess current operations, existing equipment, and operational flow of their facilities. We then work with them to develop a fit-for-purpose solution that will add value to their business and improve operations.

“The robotic palletising solutions we offer are a great example of how we are deploying proven solutions into fruit packing and processing facilities to reduce labour requirements and manual handling.

“They are cost-effective solutions, which can be added onto existing systems with ease or supplied as a full turnkey solution within new facilities. The system we have developed allows for adaption to many carton, tray and box types, and allows for the system to be future proof for any changes in container package types which may be specified from the market.”

Mr Stewart said P&C Automation is helping provide the service and support the local industry requires by listening to clients across Australia. “We take this feedback, then implement measures to provide this support when and where required.

“We put this support at the forefront of the service we supply, along with providing clients with a long-lasting relationship that will last the lifetime of the equipment they provide. This gives clients the confidence to know the equipment will always be supported when required, and help is always there throughout tough times within busy seasonal peaks.

“We aim to build relationships with our clients. Our service does not stop once the system is installed and handed to the client. We are there for the life of the system, to help keep the system operating for years to come.”

In the current climate, investing in Australian made is now a critical step for fruit packers and processors to future proof their operations and have confidence that their facilities will remain at optimal operation for many seasons to come.

“P&C Automation is a great example of how working alongside Australian-based business can greatly benefit all parties involved,” Mr Stewart said.

Categories Marketing & export Packaging & labelling Post harvest

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