Small scale farms reusable items are the way to go

By Sarah, on December 02nd 2020

“Cleaning of crates is important to avoid cross-contamination, especially on farms between different fields…”

Rhima equipment washing systems

Australian owned equipment washing system company, Rhima, says it is making an effort to focus on supplying the smaller farms and businesses with their specialised cleaning needs.

Rhima is a family owned company that originates, and still has operations, in the Netherlands. There are three arms to the business; medical washing, hospitality and industrial, with the latter being the focus for Hort Connections later this month.

“It could be to the food manufacturing industry, general engineering, or anything that requires aqueous type washing,” Managing Director Michael Vandertop said. “We supply from very big projects to mid-sized right down to sole traders. A main focus is farmers, growers and food manufacturing plants. We have big washers at crate processing depots, and compact machines at individual farms. So, it’s a varied market that we work in.”

Mr Vandertop says that the company has a few machines that are specifically aimed at the smaller operators in the fruit and vegetable market.

“They have always been left out, with all the mega type machines,” he said. “We are now coming up with machines that can do 30-40 crates an hour which can target a single small operator, who also needs to have his crates cleaned to the same level as a large operator. So, we are focusing more on that these days than the bigger ones.”

He adds that the crate cleaning system just keeps taking off more and more, because of environmental concerns and reusable items is the way to go, not just in Europe but in Australia as well.

“Cleaning of crates is important to avoid cross-contamination, especially on farms between different fields. They need washers to clean them effectively rather than stand there with a gurney and waste water,” Mr Vandertop said. “It is easy to clean something with truckloads of water, but being water and energy efficient and consistent wash results takes a bit of knowledge and that’s what we do. We wash anything apart from cars, clothes and people.”

Rhima has clients across Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Asian countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, China and Singapore. The company is currently embarking on ‘the largest washer in the country’ in Derrimut, Victoria.

“It is to wash the big mega fruit bins the ones that are 1162mm by 1162mm and 780mm high,” Mr Vandertop said. “It’s a huge machine that would be about 55 metres long, fully automated to wash 120 bins per hour, or up to 250 pallets.”

Mr Vandertop says Rhima is the only company in Australia that specialises in this type of washing equipment.

“All we do is washing, we specialise, and the advantage for our clients is that our experts know their business,” he said. “But also, we can cross-pollinate. To give you an example, if we can clean a surgical instrument in a hospital to a high level, then it is easy to clean a boning knife in an abattoir to similar high levels. We know what we are doing and specialise in it, and that gives us an edge over others.”

Publication date: Mon 17 Jun 2019
Author: Matt Russell

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