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Automatically sorting potatoes by strain

Bijlsma Hercules has brought a new line of sorting machines on the market. The refined electronic drive is what makes these machines special, allowing for more accurate sorting of the potatoes.

The new shaking sorters are equipped with four or five screen covers one on top of the other. “Because of this, a screen cleaner can be used underneath the screen covers. Because of this, the screens will not be filled, allowing for maximum screening capacity, and optimum accuracy,” says John Maljaars from Bijlsma Hercules. Two designs are available. The sorting machine of 1.30 metres wide is mostly used in the world of seed potatoes, and the larger machine of 1.60 metres wide is mostly used by small packers, the chips industry and large seed cultivators.

Electronic drive
The machine is provided with an electronic drive with touchscreen controls. It is possible to put in the strain to be sorted in advance, and the machine will automatically adjust its speeds. Four parameters have been predetermined per strain for the speed and duration of the speed. “This creates an optimum shaking frequency for the strain, which helps the accuracy of the sorting. For example, a round potato needs a different frequency in order to fall through the screen than an oval potato.” Maljaars explains that the frequencies were manually taken care of with the older machines. Six different programmes can be created per machine with the new technology. He adds that the movement has also been adjusted. The shaking now is slightly more aggressive, which makes the sorting even more accurate. “Because of that, the machine transports slightly quicker as well, which allowed for an increase in capacity.”

Characteristic of the new sorting machines is the CE screening with safety bar, which makes it easy to stop the machine in case of emergency. Maljaars: “The good thing about this is that the machine does not have any other doors either, so that product flow over the screens is always in full view. New is the cassette drawer the screens are put in, so that these are properly affixed on all sides. The drawer can be manually opened, so that the screens can be easily changed.” Bijlsma Hercules’s screens are equipped with a steel edge instead of a wooden one. The manufacturer has created its own screen press by now, so that the screens can be assembled even faster, further optimising the production process.

The machines primarily find their way to seed potato companies. Small packers of potatoes and onions also prefer shaking sorters, because accuracy, quality and capacity are important to them. “It is important for continual companies that parts can be exchanged and that the machine is easily accessible. The electronic drive will become even more important in future. Electronic sorting is the next step. With that, the biggest challenges are the large amounts of dust and contamination of the unwashed product, among other things.” Additionally, Maljaars sees an increasing need for more flexible and quicker sorting. Demand is also increasing for box sorters and combination possibilities of bunker box sorters.

For more information:
Bijlsma Hercules
John Maljaars
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