RTS Has 128 Years of Expertise and Is Still Leading the Way.

In the late 1880s, California citrus growers began organizing themselves into cooperatives, with the goal of increasing profits and bargaining power. In 1893, several prominent California citrus farmers and landowners formed the Southern California Fruit Exchange. The exchange initially included local growers in the greater Los Angeles area, and later expanded to include growers and groves throughout Southern California. By 1905, the group represented 5,000 citrus growers, or roughly 45% of the California citrus industry.

Through the early 1900’s the Exchange continued to grow, innovating everything from growing, sorting, packing and marketing. The Exchange pioneered advertising and watched the Southern California citrus industry boom, spreading its nutritious and juicy products all around the world.


From the beginning, Sunkist® was devoted to quality and consistency in its packing operations. Pictured here, workers in the early 1900’s are sizing fruit under the watchful eye of a quality control inspector, ensuring only the best fruit makes it through.

We’ve Been Driving Packing Innovation from the Beginning

In 1952, the South California Fruit Exchange changed its name to Sunkist Growers, Inc. A name that would go on to be one of the biggest in the world. In 1954, and once again leading the industry, Sunkist® began replacing standard wooden boxes with “fiberboard” cartons, necessitating a complete reinvention of the packing machine. Sunkist’s Research team designed the next generation of packing machines and by the 1990’s they had completely reinvented or modernized all packinghouse equipment, creating a new standard in fruit sorting, packing and handling.

In 1957, Sunkist’s Field Laboratory was separated from the Field Department and made part of the Research Department, creating what is now known today as RTS. Through the 1960’s Sunkist continued its focus on research and developed a variety of new products. By 1965 many packinghouse’s were using our “Place-pack” machines, revolutionizing pattern packing.

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The development of the Perma-Stable process, invented in 1962 by RTS chief chemist Horton E Swisher, earned the cooperative food industry’s highest honor – the Food Technology Industrial Achievement Award. Perma-Stabil® locked in citrus flavor in a number of products.

Through decades of comprehensive research and development, we have continued to lead the industry with the latest developments in packinghouse technology.”


By the 1970’s RTS was leading the industry in inventing new citrus products, processes and techniques, but needed to consolidate its people under one roof. Built in 1975, RTS now had a single large facility to house its engineers, technicians, and scientists. Once operating in four separate locations, they could now collaborate more easily.

Today RTS offers state-of-the-art equipment and expertise in fruit grading, sorting and packing. We create a complete packing process, from concept through engineering to production and installation. Our mission is to maintain and promote the competitive position of packinghouses around the world through continued scientific and technical innovations. Let RTS assist with your packing and handling needs.

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Sunkist Research Center

RTS engineers are seen here atop a new motorized harvesting machine for picking fruit from large citrus trees.


Designing for Today, Building for Tomorrow

Designing for Today, Building for Tomorrow

Today RTS continues to make best-in-class sorting and packing equipment, using state-of-the-art equipment and designs that continue to reliably serve our customers year after year.


We proudly offer our highly customizable and easy to use Sunsortai grading and sorting machine. Power by Google AI, it’s the latest in fruit sorting technology.


We also offer our SoftTouch pattern packer and Sunfill volume packer. Two trusted products to meet your packing needs. Let RTS work to find a solution.

For a detailed quote or more information about one of our sorting or packing products, please contact us!