Which is better? Incline or Horizontal?
One of the few constants in life: A metered feed of fruit to your destemmer gives the best result.
Incline Belt Conveyor with Large Hopper
The Carlsen Incline Belt Conveyor is a popular option for a receiving hopper. It seems that they are theoretically gentler and allow the occasional opportunity to pluck away something you don’t consider usable fruit. “Gentler” is a generalization which does not apply to our Horizontal Receiving Hopper. But when comparing a belt to other auger- type designs, they are gentle.
One thing to remember as you decide on a receiver: This is not true automation.
The best way to use an incline belt conveyor to feed grapes to a destemmer or press is to side tilt a ½ ton bin and take “cleat sized” bites with a food grade rake, matching the tempo of the sound of fruit dropping 10-18” onto the slide of your gravity in-feed Vega 10 destemmer. A similar method could be used to move whole cluster or bin- fermented reds into the press; Provided the heights match up with the built- in adjustable discharge height on the incline. This is not a two- worker crushpad. A third person is needed on the seat of the cup- holder equipped forklift.
The large hopper makes a nice target and keeps the dropped fruit to a minimum. The tank at the bottom of the belt is a good place for a small, low- cost pump (Yamada NDP 25?). The curved cleats on the belt do a good job capturing juice, but free run can get by them.
Storage/ Care/ Cleaning of an Incline is a point of contention for the extra- sanitary winemaker. Is the vineyard clean? No. Neither are these belts after the first use. Ever. You can spray them out, cap the tank, fill it with sanitizer and realistically get to a place where a biologically stable wine will never show that it touched that belt VERY easily. But some winemakers are afraid that wind comes from trees and the boogeyman lives between the belt and the pulley. Storage out of the sun is best. Taking tension off the belt at the end of harvest makes them last longer.
The Carlsen 6” Horizontal Receiving Hopper is perfect for receiving ½ ton bins, dumped at will. Cardboard bins from abroad (or some dude) can be problematic, because we hate having folks on ladders. Cardboard bins stapled to a wooden pallet could slide off the pallet, into the hopper in one piece and create a huge delay. The only way to unload them properly with a 6’ is to get up in the air on a ladder and cut the side down and have someone pass you a rake. It takes all of the fun right out of the “dump and run” feature. These are rock star pieces of equipment which save labor and preserve quality IF your fruit is all in a plastic, rotatable bin.
The height is adjustable to allow discharge of whole cluster to press, fermented reds to press, whole cluster to sorting, and fruit to destemmer.
Cleaning is easy. Storage out of the sun is best.
It’s a two- person crushpad if you have one of these.
It’s gentle by design. The auger (normally a violent, horrific word to use in the context of grapes) is a seamless, one- piece, contiguously (tig) welded, oversized beauty with U.H.M.W. plastic flight- edging and no end bearing. The shaft floats in the bottom of the trough. The flight edge becomes the bearing. There are no pinch zones. And it seals so well against the bottom that you have to turn it on to get the water to drain out after cleaning.