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New TOMRA machine sorts potatoes immediately after harvest

The TOMRA Group, the result of humble beginnings in a shed in the Norwegian countryside, now serves as an innovative engineering company active in more than 50 markets worldwide. The business offers a wide range of products for the processing and sorting of food, recyclable materials and minerals. This involves various machines, sorting chips, peeling potatoes, as well as the automated intake of used containers, cardboard, paper and plastic film.

Early this year TOMRA Sorting Solutions introduced a whole new potato sorter on the market. The FPS (Field Potato Sorter) is the first effective optical sorter for unwashed potatoes. The machine uses BSI (Biometric Signature Identification) technology to separate earth, stones and other materials from the potatoes. It also removes rotten potatoes.

Alain De Puydt of TOMRA is pleased with the introduction. “Feedback is great,” he says. The FPS belongs to a new generation of sorting machines. The special feature of a Field Potato Sorter, the name says it all, is that the potatoes can be sorted immediately after harvesting and do not need to be washed in order to create contrast. "That's the strength of the FPS," says Alain. "The machine removes everything, from all clods, all foreign objects, basically everything that is not a potato. You can think of an old cob, a can, stones and other foreign elements."

The uniqueness of the FPS and the entire generation of TOMRA machines is their sensitivity, efficiency and ease of operation. A potato that was covered with mud and earth was once indistinguishable. The new generation of machines, explains Alain, are much more able to identify a proper potato – through the BSI technology. At the moment there are already some 15 machines in circulation. "We are now focusing on Western Europe," says Alain, "but because of the success we will expand to North America and the rest of the world."

The sorters come in three sizes: the smallest has a passage width of 1200mm, the medium 1800mm and the biggest 2400mm, or 2.4 meters. A TOMRA Sorting machine can also be rented, for example, for a single season (10 weeks). "If you want to buy it after that, we will deduct the lease price of the purchase amount.”

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