Created in 1984 in Tourville-sur-Odon in the Calvados region (14) by Catherine and Christian Duchemin, Duchemin specialize in potatoes, which they market as the brand La Ferme Du Val D’Odon. Guillaume Duchemin joined the family business 14 years ago and is in charge of site management. Here he shares feedback on his business’ experience using the TOMRA 3A sorter.
With its multispectral technology and pulsed LEDs, the TOMRA 3A can help businesses improve efficiencies and profitability. Duchemin installed their machine in the potato storage shed, where the tractors tip full skips of potatoes straight from the fields, and here it runs at an average capacity of 30 tons per hour. The machine is currently running at full capacity for the second year.
Reducing workplace hardship, increasing output
The TOMRA 3A analyses the tubers as they fall and ejects foreign bodies such as stones, soil clods, and wood, and defective (green) products, while the products are moving down the processing line. The TOMRA 3A was designed to run at very high speeds without damaging the products. At Duchemin, this machine can manage up to 30 varieties of potato, from the smallest to the largest grade, representing all the cooking segments, such as firm white flesh, firm red flesh, and chips.
Guillaume Duchemin commented: “This morning we noticed some rapeseed regrowth in the potato deliveries, which it is essential to remove because it can be a source of disease in the refrigerators, a risk we cannot take. Before we had the TOMRA 3A, we would have assigned two extra people to sorting. This is no longer needed as the machine does the work. And above all, the speed stays the same. For some varieties in the past, we could spend an hour and a half sorting a skip of potatoes, whereas with the TOMRA 3A, 45 minutes is enough.”
Accurate and usable statistics
The TOMRA 3A also assists Duchemin with its precise material accounting. Managed by the TOMRA ACT software platform, this sorting machine supplies very accurate statistics on completed processes, and these are illustrated by graphics displayed dynamically in real-time on the control touch screen.
Guillaume Duchemin explains: “We process potatoes from our own fields or from partner producers. I can receive batches of goods containing five grades. I may find up to seven grades in a single variety. Grades mean different prices, both when buying and selling. I need to prove this to my producers. My suppliers receive accurate statements, guaranteeing long-lasting, trusting relationships. We manage 24 producers who have been loyal to us for years, and that's not just luck! At the other end of the line, we have to comply with our customers’ specifications, the big retailers. We have 12 audits per year by the quality managers of our buyers and external bodies. The TOMRA 3A makes it possible to adapt to meet those business demands.”