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Looking to optimise efficiencies in production, YFRESH engaged SAGE Automation to design and build a special purpose machine to automate the washing and grading of their fruit.


Manufacturing: Product Development


SAGE designed a totally bespoke special purpose machine (SPM) for regional South Australian fruit producer YFRESH to enhance their operational efficiency – collaborating with Cornell Design for the mechanical design and manufacture.


Product development, SPM support, solution design​, panel manufacture, FAT, project management, site installation, commissioning, PLC and HMI Design, mechanical design and manufacture.


The Riverland, South Australia.

Sandy Iosefellis, Director, YFRESH

“This project was around designing a machine that gave better capability than anywhere else, with any other machine we could find in Australia.”


Located in South Australia’s Riverland region, YFRESH supplies premium fresh fruit to the Australian markets and is preparing to expand their supply to international markets. Produce is picked on the farm and immediately cold stored before being packed to customer specifications in YFRESH’s purpose-built on-farm packaging facility. 


Operating for more than 25 years, YFRESH produce a wide range of fruits, with many varieties requiring labour-intensive picking, washing, and grading over a short period of time to meet market demands. The costly, repeatable task of washing and grading is essential in agricultural fruit production and is a requirement to meet various safety and quality standards in Australia and internationally.

Looking to maximise throughput, optimise efficiency and reduce these repetitive, labour-intensive tasks, YFRESH engaged SAGE Automation to design and build a special purpose machine to automate the washing and grading of their fruit.


With no machinery available on the market to meet their requirements, YFRESH engaged SAGE to design and manufacture a totally bespoke, special purpose machine.

Through consultation with the business owners and mechanical design and manufacture partner, Cornell Design, SAGE’s product development team were able to identify the requirements needed for the machine. Armed with this knowledge, and continuing an ongoing discussion with YFRESH, SAGE engineers designed a brand-new special purpose machine to efficiently wash and grade fruit.

As part of the solution development, SAGE were responsible for the electrical engineering, PLC and HMI design, Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT), and site installation and commissioning of this special purpose machine. To deliver a turnkey solution, SAGE collaborated with Cornell Design, who supported the project with the mechanical design and manufacture.

The result was a special purpose machine that first washes, then sorts fruit as it passes through a purpose-built conveyor belt system – automatically grading the fruit based on predetermined parameters requested by YFRESH. The washing mechanism enables the fruit to be cleaned to a high standard, with reduced risk of damaging the skin or bruising the fruit; physical attributes that can reduce the fruit’s value at market.



The client now has a fit-for-purpose solution that enables them to reduce the amount of manual handling required to deliver their produce to market.


  • SAGE designed a bespoke special purpose machinery solution.

“We were looking for something bespoke, because the machine that we required for our fruit – we couldn’t find here in Australia, so that’s why we [engaged] SAGE.” – Bill Efrosinis, Business Manager, YFRESH.

  • SAGE’s mechanical design and manufacturer network enabled a turnkey solution, collaborating with Cornell Design for this project.

“Cornell Design and SAGE Automation are a great fit, because we share the same customer focus and values.” – Phil Cornell, Managing Director, Cornell Design.

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