The Melon Float™
The Melon Float™ is designed to address issues of packing, washing and sanitizing watermelons all in a simple and convenient way. In the past, most farmers used hand labor or a dump system, both of which are more prone to scarring and bruising the fruit. Also, melons were loaded into wagons in the field and then taken to the packing shed to be shipped making it a necessity to grow fields close to the packing house in order to avoid costly fuel charges.
Once they arrived at the packing house they were then unloaded, by hand, one melon at a time, resulting in tired workers and damaged fruit. Take note that a washing procedure was not included in this process because it usually is not. Not washing fruit before packing can leave dirt and pathogens, such as salmonella and e-coli, on fruit.
The Melon Float™ addresses all the problems of the past, improving the quality of our melons!
How it works:
1.) Melons are loaded into bulk bins in the field. These bins are easily transferred by mechanical means to over the road vehicles which can travel longer distances to packing sheds. The Melon Float™ can easily be transported on a small trailer with only a few hours of disassembly and loading time.
2.) Bins are loaded into the Melon Float™ by forklift. The machine lowers the bins into a water solution allowing the melons to gently float up. No physical labor or damaged fruit!
3.) Melons are immersed in a sanitizing solution while jets of the solution under pressure wash over melons causing dirt and foreign material to fall to the bottom of the tank. Jets are positioned to push and rotate floating melons onto brushes which scrub and wash them as they are brought out of the tank. This is done in an apparatus (approx 6’ by 15’), easily transported and capable of scrubbing approx. 40,000 lbs. of melons per hour! The melons then come down a transition belt, and onto a grader belt which weighs and pushes the melons off according to size onto tables to be packed into cardboard bins, ready for retail!