Schouten Sorting Equipment:

Birthday party leads to optical potato sorting project

Optical sorters are on the rise. The developments are rapid. The expectation is that this technique will take off over the next few years. Schouten Sorting Equipment in Kampen is working on an optical sorting machine too.

"A birthday party was actually the base for the idea to start the project for sorting potatoes optically," says Joachim Kamp. Along with Laurent Kamp, Joachim Kamp owns Kamp Agro, an agricultural business in Rutten and Nagele. Joachim and Laurent Kamp were looking for a way to sort the seeding goods more accurately. "Strange things happen. For us it was a birthday party. Laurent was there and spoke to the director of Schouten Kampen." From a birthday party to an innovative idea. Joachim Kamp thinks it's a good story.

There are more companies who are involved with optical sorting, but no company met Kamp Agro's desires: "The optical sorters we knew linked reading the potatoes and sorting. It is important to us that the right size is sorted with a high capacity."

There is now an optical sorter at Kamp Agro in Rutten, the Optica CS. This was developed by the Research & Development department of Schouten Sorting Equipment in Kampen. The Optica CS is a camera sorting machine that works with cameras. According to Bram Jansen the Optica CS is an innovation seed growers can't avoid: "They can make money with this. There are also other added advantages. A lot of data can be obtained that seed growers can use, such as amounts and an estimate of weight. An added advantage is that the Optica CS removes clumps and such."

To heighten the capacity of the manual reading, the Optica CS is provided with clump detection. "We are still busy sorting for aberrant shapes and blemishes (half potatoes, growth tears). The only reading that would remain is the problem parties with mange and Rhizoctonia. In most cases after control is sufficient."

Recently, around thirty fellow growers visited Joachim and Laurent Kamp at Kamp Agro in Rutten and the OPtica CS was demonstrated. They viewed this visual sorter, impressed. In general they were unanimous in their agreement that this is a 'good system that can obtain a lot of capacity'. Or as one agriculturalist put it: "It is the accuracy that is impressive! It is a large investment, but it is a brilliant new development. In this way we can better remove the larger potatoes and keep the smaller ones. I believe this is the future." 

Joachim Kamp says that he doesn't want to make a sales pitch. But he is enthusiastic about the Optica CS and sees the benefits clearly. "We hope to make this machine profitable and I think everyone should profit from this." At the start of 2016 the second Optica CS will be put to work. Inghels Heikant BV in Heikant has purchased an 8 track machine. They will sort out seeding goods with it.
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