Tong Engineering has designed a custom-built seed potato grading facility for B&C Farming – a Norfolk-based contract farmer and potato grower in the UK – taking into account the latter’s current and future requirements.
B&C Farming has been using a custom grading line from Pearl Engineering for no less than 29 years and needed to upgrade to newer, more efficient equipment.
Since reduction of labor costs was a key objective in the specification of the new line, Tong implemented a side-eject box tipper that feeds the crop into the line.
“It is a fine line between keeping the forklift drivers busy, and them being too rushed, risking accidents or causing the line to stop and wait for the crops. The side-eject box tipper not only reduces forklift movement, allowing us to cut the number of forklifts required for grading, but it also ensures a continuous flow of crop onto the grading line,” saysTony Bambridge, managing director at B&C Farming.
Labor requirements at the crop cleaning and grading section of the line have also been taken into consideration.
“Taking care of the complete grading system from start to finish, Tong integrated the Tomra FPS (field potato sorter) into the line for automatic detection of stones and clod in the unwashed crop. With this removal of debris now being performed automatically, inspection staff can now focus on grading for quality of the potatoes, with size-grading took care of by Tong’s EasyGrade screen grading modules.
“Inspection staff are now in a fully-insulated, heated and sound-proofed cabin, allowing for much more pleasant inspection conditions,” Bambridge says.