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Hi-tech advances in potato sorting.

Two new advances by leading produce handling specialists Maf Roda--precision weight grading and the long-awaited camera quality sorting--are being brought to the UK vegetable packing industry by Tong Peal Engineering.

The new Oneway Weight Grader incorporates the latest computer technology, a major factor in the continued success of Maf Roda, allowing tubers to be weighed to within three grams and making available as many weight bands as required.

The model uses heavier duty components from an existing fruit sizer and gives increased capacity with up to 400 cups per minute, fewer moving parts and reduced maintenance. The potato crop is singulated on vee belts to give a greater cup-fill to the newly designed cups, which sit on carrying chains without the need for the support rods supplied on previous models.

The simple cup tipping mechanism is solenoid activated at a programme nominated outlet on the grader, giving a gentle discharge of the potato to the outlet conveyor.

"Interest in the Oneway is very high as customers are looking to replace existing Maf machines for higher capacities and lower operating cost," says Barry Ledger, sales manager of Tong Peal Engineering. "We've already had our first two orders."

He visited the Maf factory at Montauban, France, to see the latest developments in camera quality sorting of potatoes by colour and shape. The company has been using this technology for many years for colour sorting fruit and length grading carrots.

"Maf are achieving extremely impressive results in quality sorting potatoes," says Mr Ledger. "Fingertip control of the programme allows the user to eliminate detects in varying degrees. The cameras also enable separating by shape within the same weight band, providing a more uniform sample which adds value to the crop."

Contact Tong Peal Engineering on tel: 01790 752 771 or visit www.tongeng.co.uk
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Title Annotation:PLANT & EQUIPMENT
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:302
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