How the right belt helps keep avocados on the rise

How the right belt helps keep avocados on the rise

Although the people of Mexico have enjoyed avocados for thousands of years, these delicious green fruits have only become popular in Europe, North America and Asia over the past few decades. Today the global market for this nutritious Superfood is still growing (in 2025 it’s expected to be almost 50% larger than in 2019), thanks to the avocado’s delicious taste and heart-healthy oils, vitamins, and minerals.

While avocados are grown on several continents, Mexico is by far the world leader for both production and export, with avocados accounting for 80% of Mexico’s exports. In turn, Mexico is responsible for 45% of the international avocado market. Its western states form the heart of the industry, and it’s here that our customer MexiFrutas asked our team for help with an avocado processing application involving elevator loading to an IQF (individual quick freezing) chamber.

The nub of the problem

In this application, avocados are delivered cut in half and without their outer skin via a water tunnel, to be carried up an incline to two water tunnels two floors above. The avocados are processed this way so they can be used for sandwiches, wraps, salads, guacamole, and other fresh convenience foods. The original belt installed was a plastic modular nub top belt from another belt supplier. The problem was that these nubs caused marks on the avocados. The sensitive fruit must be processed very gently to guarantee a visually attractive product. Furthermore, since the belt had hard plastic flights/cleats, when the avocados hit these they were damaged, resulting in significant product loss. Finally, the modular belt became very dirty, as residues built up between the hinges and rods and these areas are difficult to clean.

It was clear that the customer required a belting solution that did not mark the avocado, generated less scrap, was easier to clean, delivered higher productivity, and was more environmentally friendly.

Monolithic belt provides the avocado processing line solution

food-compliant fully extruded monolithic belt is soft enough to absorb the impact of the avocado

Our CD.M50.S-UA.CB Habasit Cleandrive TPU belt offe red the perfect solution. This FDA/EU food-compliant fully extruded monolithic belt is soft enough to absorb the impact of the avocado, and its flat surface does not leave marks on the fruit. The use of 3” curved scope cleats every 8” on the belt stops the avocados hitting them directly. The solid yet flexible belt design is also free of the hinges, cavities and rods normally found in plastic modular belts, which makes it very easy to clean, and the belt’s hydrolysis- and chemical resistance ensure no damage during sanitation.

Furthermore, retrofitting the old belt with the Habasit Cleandrive belt was easy, since no additional changes to the conveyor were needed because the Cleandrive belt also runs on sprockets just like the plastic modular belt does.

Reduction in waste, cleaning time and water usage

Thanks to the Habasit belt, the customer experienced a 90% reduction in wastage, since the avocados are delivered to the next stage of processing without marks. There has also been a 50% reduction in cleaning time (from 1 hour to 30 minutes), plus a 10% reduction in water usage, meeting more of the customer’s requirements for higher productivity and profitability, and greener operation.Fully extruded monolithic belt_Reduction in waste, cleaning time and water usage

As Mexico’s avocado and fruit business develops, Habasit solutions are also growing. Wherever you are located, if you need help with meeting the challenges of processing delicate foods, our Cleandrive range may provide the ideal solution. For help and advice, contact me at any time.

2021 September 1  |  Posted by

Alan Favretto is Habasit’s Global Industry Segment Manager for Agriculture & Dairy. He joined Habasit in 2020 after many years in the belting market, mainly focused on food applications, and involving belts of all types. He has an Executive MBA with a focus on Digital transformation, and is keen to bring innovation to the belting industry, as well as improved hygiene, and efficiency to Agriculture & Dairy processing plants. Based in Italy, but a global traveler, Alan speaks Italian and English.

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