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Van Doren Sales remains a leader in automated produce-handling equipment

By
Keith Loria

Since 1946, Van Doren Sales has been dedicated to serving the fruit and vegetable industries by providing equipment that streamlines storage and packing processes for packhouse owners.

“As technology evolved, we have continually integrated and improved technology within our equipment solutions,” said Jason Skerlong, vice president of operations for the East Wenatchee, WA-based company. “Our focus has expanded to designing comprehensive packhouse solutions aimed at optimizing the fresh produce supply chain.”

Through strategic partnerships with leading technology providers in sorting, grading, packing, data management, robotics and logistics, the company has propelled packhouse operations to new heights of automation and efficiency.

“In modern facilities, our customers benefit from advanced systems capable of handling increased volumes of produce while ensuring improved returns to growers and maintaining stringent food-safety standards,” said David Welch, sales manager for Van Doren Sales. “Over the past decade, we have continuously explored and adopted key technological advancements for our customers, remaining steadfast in our commitment to delivering high-quality solutions to our expanding customer base.”

Van Doren is deeply committed to fostering partnerships with its customers that optimize packhouse systems’ efficiency while providing essential support and training for long-term success.

“Our primary goal is to maximize the value of every product through solutions that prioritize labor reduction and system automation,” Welch said. “As leaders in technology and automation, we offer integrated solutions for optical grading, palletizing, packaging and material handling. These innovations directly address the persistent labor challenges in global produce markets. Our solutions enhance flexibility, boost productivity and ensure predictability and product traceability through integrated data systems.”

As a company rooted in fabrication and customized engineering, Van Doren collaborates closely with its customers to optimize every inch of available space with its solutions.

“Our layout engineers work with our sales team and customers to design solutions tailored to their specific needs,” Skerlong said. “Once the technology and features are agreed upon, our design engineers ensure seamless integration of every component. Subsequently, our PLC programmers, software engineers and electrical engineers develop a comprehensive control scheme, providing customers with maximum control over their technology investment. Our skilled fabricators then construct and install the equipment on-site, ensuring the entire system functions flawlessly from project inception.”

Each commodity presents unique challenges. For instance, in the onion industry, Van Doren recognizes that solutions effective for other produce may not always be suitable.

“Leveraging our extensive experience in the tree fruit sector, we have adapted many pieces of equipment and learned the intricacies of handling vegetables,” Skerlong said. “When our expertise needed augmentation, we partnered with best-of-breed integration partners who share our commitment to quality and innovation. This collaboration has guided the design of our solutions, ensuring they meet the highest standards of care and efficiency.”

The company motto, Quality Pays, has been at the core of Van Doren since 1946, deeply ingrained in its DNA.

“This ethos drives our commitment to forming enduring partnerships with our customers, ensuring the longevity and reliability of our equipment solutions,” Welch said. “Through steadfast dedication to service and support, we guarantee that our solutions can reliably handle various produce commodities, adapting to their unique requirements and maintaining optimal performance over time.”

The integration of advanced technology is a cornerstone of Van Doren’s success.

“We continuously push ourselves and our vendors to evolve products that meet the current demands of the industry while proactively developing solutions to anticipate future needs in fruit and vegetable packing,” Skerlong said. “Our cutting-edge grading technology and AI-based vision systems enable a single line operator to efficiently grade multiple tons of produce. This not only boosts workforce productivity but also significantly reduces waste by capturing the value of each individual piece of produce.”

By leveraging these advanced systems, Van Doren helps deliver a greater ROI for customers and ensure that valuable produce is utilized by available consumers.

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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