Below you will see a list of frequently asked questions, however if you have a question of your own please click below.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does the Mushroom Machine Gamechanger pick mushrooms?
The Gamechanger does not pick mushrooms from the mushroom bed. The picker picks the mushrooms and places them on the belt and the machine does the rest: – cuts the stalks, lifts the mushrooms, places them in the punnets, weighs the punnets, ejects the loaded punnet, de-nests a new punnet and the process starts all over again. It also collects the production data.


2. Why not use a robot to pick the mushrooms?
Mushrooms are extremely hard to pick with any kind of mechanisation. There are many problems to be overcome: – the imaging for mushroom selection, selecting the right mushrooms, selecting what mushrooms are to be rejected, gripping the mushrooms without damaging them, the actual pulling of the mushrooms, handling the waste, the various sizes of packaging, seamlessly loading the packaging, removing the full packaging, etc.
However, the main questions regarding robotics involves the economics, how much of the crop it would actually be able to pick, how reliable would the robot be, how much support would be required from technical people, is the other components available for handling the packaging, what is the best technology, etc?
Many experts predict that it will be another 5-7 years before a solution may be developed which will be reliable and economic.


3. How much does a machine cost?
The Mushroom Machine is affordable with a Return of Investment of less than a year. Please call and we can discuss your requirements.


4. Will the Gamechanger work with US Style Doubles or is it only with Dutch Shelving?
We believe the Gamechanger could be used in infrastructure that has either Dutch Shelving or US Style Doubles, and it could be made much easier with the addition of a top and bottom rail.


5. What kind of picking rates will be achieved with the Gamechanger?
The Gamechanger will help to double the picking rate of a picker over time. That would mean that a picker that can harvest 25kgs per hour would be doing at least 50kgs, or someone doing 35kgs per hour could achieve 70kgs per hour.


6. What is the maximum picking rate of the Gamechanger?
Under test conditions in our workshop we have achieved rates around 105-110 Kilos per hour. The actual maximum rate does depend on the average weight of the mushrooms, the desired weight of the punnets being filled and the technique of the picker.


7. What are the main advantages of the Gamechanger?
There are many advantages to the Gamechanger and these include: a doubling of the picking rate, accurately cut stalks, reduced weight, improved presentation, can work in existing infrastructure, is battery powered, self-contained, mobile, collects the data and one person operated.


8. How is the Gamechanger powered?
The Gamechanger is powered by either a 12v or 24v battery depending on the customer’s choice.


9. How long would it take for a picker to achieve a doubling of the normal picking rate?
We have found that many pickers have had significant improvements within 1 or 2 days of using the machine, but it would take around 2 -4 weeks to double the picking rate.


10. Do you expect the Gamechanger to achieve more than a doubling of the picking rate?
We expect that with months of practice many pickers could increase their picking rates well in access of double their existing pick rates. This will obviously be achieved with practice, improvements in our software, better technique, etc.


11. What kind of return on investment could be achieved with the Gamechanger?
Using the Gamechanger on a 1 shift system would give a Return Of Investment (ROI) of around 1 year. However if the machine was used on a 2 shift system we would expect the ROI to be in the region of 6 months with the added advantage that fewer machines would be required and harvest grazing would also increase yield.


12. What about the stalk trimming?
The Gamechanger has a mushroom stalk trimming blade at the back of the machine. The stalk length can be varied from the front. We also expect increased yield of about 10% due to correct cutting of the stalk. Loss of weight in stalks can be due to stalks cut to short or stalks cut at an angle


13. Is there a particular picking technique to use when using the machine?
The technique that needs to be adapted for the machine involves picking with both hands, using both sides of the mushroom input belt, never move mushrooms from one hand to the other, always place the mushrooms in 3s for medium mushrooms or 4s for button mushrooms, use all the belt, remove filled punnets and don’t allow the de-nester to run out of empty punnets.


14. How many punnets does the de-nester hold?
The de-nester will hold around 75 punnets or more. It is however not a good idea to overfill the de-nester as it causes pressure on the bottom punnets. It is not a good idea to let the de-nester run down to the last punnet.


15. Is there a difference between ordinary punnets and de-nestable punnets?
There are several differences between ordinary punnets and de-nestable punnets. De- nestable punnets need to be used with the Gamechanger. They have a space of 1.5mm between each punnet. They normally have a ridge at each corner to keep the space between the punnets. De-nestable punnets may also be a little bit more expensive due to transportation and also they take a little longer to cool during production. However using the correct punnets can save significant time splitting manual punnets and allow the harvester to concentrate on picking.


16. What sizes of punnets does the Gamechanger use?
The Gamechanger can handle many types of punnets by changing the de-nester. The standard sizes are: 120mm Wide – 140mm Long / 140mm Wide – 180mm Long / 170mm Wide – 180mm Long / 180mm Wide – 270mm Long / 120mm Wide – 265mm Long. Other more bespoke sizes can be accommodated.


17. Can the Gamechanger be used with boxes and trays?
Boxes and trays can be used with the Gamechanger Pro. The packaging can be inserted from the front and when the required weight is achieved, the machine will eject and sound an alarm, allowing the user to remove the full box/tray and replace it with an empty container and the process will begin again.


18. How long does it take to clean the Gamechanger?
Every effort has been taken to reduce the accumulation of dirt on the Gamechanger. The waste bin under the machine should collect all of the dirt. The machine can be wiped down by wipes or a sponge. The edges round the bin can also be wiped down. The cutting blade can be taken off and cleaned in water. We can take the main arm off and pressure wash the arm, cups, bin and front dirt tray. Total time for cleaning can be around 2-5 minutes.
We would also use Sporekill Spot (www.nutrigain.com) to spray on areas that might carry disease and it provides a layer of protection over a period. Periodical cleaning of the suckers can be achieved by the use of using a specially designed rotational brush device.


19. Do you need to clean the suckers on the Gamechanger?
Periodically you do need to clean the suckers on the machine. A warning can be triggered as to when the suckers need cleaned and periodical cleaning of the suckers can be achieved by the use of using a specially designed rotational brush device. It is recommended that suckers should be changed at end of every break.


20. Do the suckers damage the mushrooms?
The vacuum settings that we use on the Gamechanger are very low. We have tripled the vacuum pressure and tested mushrooms after 6 days and have found no marks on the head of the mushrooms or any other damage.


21. Are there Patents on the Mushroom Machine?
To protect the IP design rights of the Gamechanger, patents have been applied under UK and International law and these patents will be extended across all countries that the Gamechanger will be sold.


22. Do you have distributors or Support agents around the world?
We do have some agents who can provide sales assistance and support to customers throughout specific areas. In areas where language may be an issue we do have some assistance and we are open to more help.


23. Is the presentation of the mushrooms in the punnets equivalent to that from manual pickers?
In many cases producers have said that the presentation of the mushrooms from the Gamechanger is actually better than that from their pickers. We have found that as we place the mushrooms in the punnets in groups of 3s or 4s the presentation is improved. As the Gamechanger improves the picking of a regular size of mushroom and the accurate trimming of the stalk. These two items also aid to improve presentation.


24. What is the difference between how buttons and medium mushrooms are presented?
Button mushrooms are presented in the punnets at the bottom level in 3 rows of 4s and the second level is in 2 rows of 4s for a 175mm x 135mm punnet. However for medium mushrooms (40 – 60mm) we positon the bottom level with 2 rows of 3 and a single of 3 on the next level, and the same again until the punnet is filled.


25. Can the Gamechanger be upgraded or speeded up?
The Gamechanger is made up of quality components which can actually be speeded up. The software which can be upgraded remotely, is being continuously improved to provide more performance over time.


26. How about the collection of data?
The Gamechanger’s computer can collect the production information (no of mushrooms, no of punnets, session times, users, etc,) and then holds the data and transfers data via wireless connection when a connection is achieved. At present we have integration into Farmmanger Software which is used in a number of mushroom farms in the UK and Ireland.


27. What other harvesting options are there available today?
There are some other large scale options available with belts or chains along the side of the Dutch shelving. These systems have significant disadvantages over the Gamechanger and some of these are big disadvantages. These disadvantages include: big cost, Return of Investment is measured in several years at least, time from purchase to implementation, won’t work in existing infrastructure, increased distance from the shelves (need to reduce the shelf width), little flexibility, in a growing cycle will not be used 50% of the time, if anything breaks down everything stops and many more.


28. How can I keep up to speed with all the latest news on the Gamechanger?
We like to keep our current and potential customers up to date with the latest news on all things Gamechanger by sending out emails direct. If you want to be included in this list please click here.


If you have a question that isn’t answered above let us know.

We will answer your question in a timly manner

Mushroom Machine Company
14B Altona Road East,
Blaris Industrial Estate,
Co. Antrim, BT27 5QB

Tel: 0044 (0)28 9252 8488
E: sales@mushroommachine.co.uk

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