Sergio Zucal has been manufacturing machinery to assist the apple industry for more than 30 years.
The former farmer has been supplying the Zucal apple system to the Italian apple industry and has a very clear idea about when his machinery will break into the Australian market.
“Australia will be ready in 2017.”
Mr Zucal said he believed Australia would be ready for systems and technologies such as his next year because of a recent push in the industry to improve productivity and quality in Australian orchards.
He said Australia was like Italy’s neighbour, thanks to globalisation, that had ensured all markets, including Australia, focused on quality to try and better their competitors around the globe.
“Everybody, especially now, they focus on eating well, the product has to be beautiful, look great, no bruises...but that's life, we need to get better or you die,” Mr Zucal said.
“That is reality, the best product is reliable and lasts long.”
The Zucal apply system is a multipurpose apple system that can be used for harvesting but can also be used for pruning and thinning.
It is fully customisable and can be used for differing orchard conditions, making it suitable for Australian orchardists.
Mr Zucal is at Interpoma’s trade show event and said he had already had significant interest from Australians at the show and prior to the event.
The apple system was one of the first of its type in Italy about 30 years ago and was developed after farmers approached Mr Zucal for help.
“We started in warehouse in packaging and then 25 years ago the farmers asked me to make a machine they could use for harvesting, pruning thining to this machine was made,” he said.
“Now there are many of these types of machines on the market.”
However the Zucal apple system is made to last and Mr Zucal said he had customers that had their machine for 20 years.
“They don’t want to trade it in, they call it by name, it [the machine] is part of the family.”
A new feature of the most recent models of the Zucal apple system is new technology that helps reduce bruising on apples are they are being harvested.
The machine has small plastic “teeth” that help to guide the apple from the harvester’s hand, along the conveyor belt and into the bin.
The anti-brusing technology has only been implemented in the 2015 models. The Zucal apple system is all manufactured and built in Italy.