Ro­bot-racked cool­stores help DMS grow

DMS is pre­par­ing for its big­gest ki­wifruit sea­son yet, af­ter build­ing six of the Bay’s largest and most ad­vanced cool­stores. The three­pal­let high ro­bot-racked cool­stores, com­pleted this sea­son, use cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy to max­imise fruit pal­let han­dling

The Orchardist - - Kiwifruit -

Two new Dex­ion 1,750 high­cube pal­let ca­pac­ity cool­stores at their Te Puna site – in ad­di­tion to four 1,400 pal­let high cube ca­pac­ity stores at Pukepack – has helped the West­ern Bay of Plenty ki­wifruit man­age­ment company ready it­self for fur­ther growth.

The in­no­va­tive pal­let han­dling tech­nol­ogy ef­fec­tively min­imises the pal­let move­ment within each cool­store row by al­low­ing a shut­tle dolly to po­si­tion un­der each pal­let and re­trieve the pal­let from the rack­ing re­motely. This avoids mul­ti­ple pal­let move­ment with a tra­di­tional fork­lift to re­trieve back row pal­lets. Less fork­lifts op­er­at­ing within the cool­store also pro­vides a safer work­ing en­vi­ron­ment for DMS staff.

The in­creased ca­pac­ity is vi­tal for DMS, who have grown 85% since 2014. Af­ter a record 2016/17 sea­son which saw net profit, be­fore tax and dis­tri­bu­tions of $9.7 mil­lion, up from $6.95 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year – the company is now fo­cused on man­aged growth and in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture as they look to the fu­ture.

Di­rec­tor Craig Greenlees says that a fast grow­ing in­dus­try is an op­por­tu­nity but also has risks, and suc­cess is not guar­an­teed. He points to the re­cently pub­li­cised for­tune turn­around of Fletcher Build­ing as an im­por­tant warn­ing of the dan­gers fac­ing growth in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing ki­wifruit.

The new cool­stores are part of a $23.7m in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment across its Te Puna and Te Puke sites dur­ing 2016/17, in­clud­ing two fur­ther cool­stores and canopies to be com­pleted at Te Puna in time for the 2018 sea­son.

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