Marcel Mulder, Miedema:

"Optical potato sorter selects by length, height, depth and quality"

At the PMA in Atlanta, Miedema recently introduced its Smart Grader to the American market. This optical sorter is able to sort by length, height, depth and quality. "With infrared technology, we scan up to a millimetre under the skin. That way we can fully separate wireworms, growth cracks, rot, scab and discolouration automatically," says Marcel Mulder.

Apart from the well-known red-black line for unwashed potatoes, Miedema has also entered the processing industry for washed potatoes with a grey line, through automation company Ellips. "Normally a lot of staff is needed to select the good and bad potatoes. We do that in one go," Marcel says. After sorting, the Smart Grader provides an overview of all size and quality criteria. For each sorting exit, data is available on volume, size, defects and weight.

Erwin Bakker of Ellips with Marcel Mulder and Jos Broeders of Miedema.

In the North American market, there is a lot of interest from growers of sweet potatoes, and British importers of sweet potatoes have also shown an interest. "The sorter also detects skin damage, which is very important for sweet potatoes," Marcel says. The machine has two lanes, with one lane being able to be deployed for sweet potatoes, for instance, and the second for seedlings, delicatessen or consumption potatoes. The first lane has a capacity of 1.5 tonnes per hour, for the second that's about a tonne lower.

Although Miedema had initially expected the biggest interest from the big seedling growers, Marcel says it's actually the middle segment that shows the biggest interest, remarkably enough. "That's like the growers with an acreage between 30 and 50 hectares. They want to go along with scaling up, but they do still want to do it themselves. The Smart Grader is a flexible solution for them, where they can change the settings and sizing with a single mouse click."

For more information:
Marcel Mulder
Manager Smart Solutions
Tel: +31(0)517 239 800

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