Bell Peppers

Challenge Exeter Engineering was approached by a client packing bell peppers for help with upgrading his sorting line. The client was looking to reduce labor costs, increase throughput, and maximize versatility. The client wanted to retain much of their existing equipment and upgrade their line in situ.


After multiple site visits and a trip to our design and manufacturing facility in Exeter, California, the Exeter Engineering determined that, taking (then) current throughput into consideration, and allowing for future growth opportunity, the upgraded line needed to be able to effectively sort 36,000-40,000 pounds of bell peppers per hour.

Working with the customer’s existing infeed system, we designed a line that incorporated our Sidewinder sorter, with 6 lanes and 13 separate drops. The Sidewinder provides the ability to not only accurately size, but also detect miss-shapen, scared and sun-tanned peppers. Its unique presentation abilities, combined with our ID Technology’s suite of dual cameras, mounted at 45-degree angles on each side of the lane and lit by custom-tuned LED lighting, give packers crystal clear images and, as a result, a superior grading result.

After sorting, the customer needed a new solution for filling RPCs. We were able to use some existing infrastructure to get the sorted peppers from the Sidewinder to a pair of Exeter Engineering AccuCount fillers. The entire upgrade was accomplished without disturbing the customer’s existing facility.


The client reports that labor costs were reduced by 20% after the installation of the Sidewinder, with hourly throughput increasing by more than 400 cartons. The superior grading provided by the Sidewinder also offered a higher quality, more consistent pack for the customer’s clients. Moreover, the AccuCount fillers allowed the customer to increase throughput and pack 8-12 RPCs per minute, dramatically reducing their cost per package.