Short asparagus, protuberances, fouling, curved or crooked bars: asparagus growers and processors always have these problem using conventional knife cutting technology. The new process is so far unique in the world of asparagus, assures managing director Hermann Neubauer, who will demonstrate the latest version of the high-tech line at the forthcoming ExpoSE.
For almost three years now, the water jet cutting process of German machine supplier Neubauer Automation has enabled accurate cuts without readjustment in one operation. This is ensured by the intelligent cutting computer in conjunction with an additional camera. For each individual asparagus, the actual length is determined, taking into account the curvature. The asparagus is then cut to the exact length -using the water jet cutter robot- according to the defined category. This significantly minimizes the wastage on each individual asparagus. "The big advantage compared to conventional knife cutting technology is that we can now cut asparagus to the same length. Thanks to this new development, the asparagus producer has up to 5 percent less waste," explains Neubauer.
The ESPASO water jet cutting technology is particularly suitable for green asparagus. A complete solution (ESPASO S60 SEC) for placing, measuring, cutting and weighing the asparagus (from left to right) is currently being delivered. This complete line has a total length of approx. 27 m. The combination of high sorting performance with the patented turbocharger, the precise measuring process, the water jet cutting technology and the highly accurate bundling process has already convinced approx. 80 customers worldwide. The locations are located in Italy, Spain, Poland Germany, Peru, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia.
Considerable increase in efficiency
The complete development process of water jet technology to today's perfection took seven years to complete, commented Neubauer. The process offers the customer not only perfection in the sorting, but also a considerable increase in efficiency, saving in money, time and personnel costs. The additional costs compared to a standard machine should be amortized in a very short time. In the last 3 years, the proportion of machines with this innovative technology increased to 20% of the annual production.
The system sorts 45,000 bars / hour: The ESPASO reaches a consistently high utilization of over 90% and is able to sort up to 2t asparagus per hour under ideal conditions.
Added value for the growing convenience sector
The water cutting technology allows maximum clean cutting length directly behind the harvest cut. The foot of the asparagus can be cut off completely, half etc. depending on the country specification. Thus, the method also offers multiple benefits to the steadily growing convenience market in Germany (especially in the asparagus sector). Because convenience asparagus can be cut to exactly the same length. This means the producer or processor is able to create weight-optimized asparagus bundles quickly and efficiently, directly on the machine. This length- and weight-optimized process gives on average 2-5% more sales weight and thus a clear added value for the respective seller.