Technological developments in the field of potatoes are currently progressing rapidly. During Potato Europe there was Swiss company Visar to present its new sorting system, Visar Sortop Potatoes. The fully automated action of the optical sensors as well as the high number of cycles of up to 30 tubers per second attracted a large number of trade visitors to the demonstration. The possibilities and the market potential of the installation for the international potato industry are infinitely large, says a spokesman of the company in an interview.
The optical sorting system is already being used in many places
What are the most significant innovations of the new sorting technology regarding potato processing?
"First of all, Visar Sortop Potatoes sorts washed, unwashed (eg: seed potatoes) and peeled potatoes. In addition, it has a unique optical configuration that combines a 360° view with a high resolution (0.16 mm2) and an infrared signal camera. In the course of this the facility is capable to analyze the shape, maturity and peels as well as wireworm infestation in one fell swoop.''
"The system is also very user-friendly and has built-in software, a great advantage of which is that the unit allows precise calibration of the tuber with 6 fully adjustable diameter, weight and length. Depending on the diameter of the product, the machine is capable of sorting about 2.5 tons per hour, because of the high number of cycles and the unique sorting, we claim as our guiding principle: Sort better, sell more!"
Great enthusiasm of trade visitors during Potato Europe
How would you rate the market for sorting technology in the future?
''The food market is clearly developing, and the potato trade is as well. The online trade also encourages smaller cooperatives to offer the best sorting quality at an acceptable price. In addition to this, consumers value traceability and food waste is also a sensitive issue. The market must therefore act on it and invent a win-win solution, whereby the trade can sell more products at a correct price.''
"We believe that the demanded quality and large volumes are only possible with a precise system: a human sorting process cannot always guarantee this. The marketer or packer himself should create optimal conditions: a gentle process should be designed, as well as simple settings for sorting and calibrating. Apart from that, the quality of service is an important issue.''
What are the most important sorting challenges and how does Visar work?
"Consumers' demands are increasing every day (price, freshness, quality, traceability) and this is certainly an item for distributors and packers. They clearly need maximum efficiency so that a continuous supply of quantities is guaranteed. The reliability and quality of our machine is our main focus. Our latest Visar Sortop installation is a big step forward, especially in the field of seed potatoes, as it also handles unwashed tubers without any problems.''
"It is worth mentioning that we are quite new in the market. The Visar Sorting technique was developed in 2008 for carrots and only in 2015, the installation was used in the potato industry operationally as well."
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