In the autumn of 2017 Skals delivered a new grading system to Poul Lauritsen from Lodbjerg near Thy in Denmark. At the farm Søagergaard, the brothers Niels, Sten and Poul Lauritsen run two departments with 100 hectares of pre-basic seed potatoes. The production corresponds to more than 35% of Denmark’s production of pre-basic seed potatoes in the first, second, third and fourth generation. Between 26 and 30 different varieties, among others, the variety Kuras is graded and sold to the companies, who have the individual rights to each variety.
The previous Skals grading system was worn down and out-of-date. For a long time, Poul Lauritsen had been looking for more capacity and greater flexibility. Therefore, an update was needed, to handle the 45 tonnes a day, which is the target on a normal working day.
The task was to build a new user-friendly, reliable and flexible system, capable of running every day from January to mid April. Since it is a short period, it is essential, that the grading system is running every day without down time.
The solution consists of an installation with a hopper – inlet for trucks, boxes and bags silo. From this point, a conveyor belt goes to the soil extractor. After the potatoes have been cleaned, the next step is into the first grading machine, where three sizes are graded. The small and big sizes go to boxes and the middle size continues, through the conveyor belt to the flexible inspection table.
At the inspection table, the rolling speed of the potatoes can be adjusted, which is a major advantage at the manual inspection. After inspection, the potatoes continue to grading in three sizes and then into boxes and through an Evenflow (silo) to the big bag filling.
For pre-basic potato production, all steps must be carried out extremely carefully. This applies to both the potato field, which is constantly being controlled in regard to diseases and mixing of varieties, but also in the grading process. When the potatoes get out of the soil in September/October, they are brought directly into stock and are not being graded, until they are ready for the customers. It is crucial, that the potatoes aren´t damaged during the grading process.
The pre-basic potato varieties, that are produced at Lauritsen, are exclusively grown by them and can´t be obtained elsewhere. The customers are therefore dependent on, that the products are of the highest quality.
Poul Lauritsen comments:
[gdlr_quote align=”center” ]The varieties we grow here at Søagergaard, are exclusively produced by us. We have a great responsibility towards our customers and it is important to us, to make an extra effort.
Therefore, we have chosen a Skals grading solution. This way, we are sure, that our products are graded as accurately and gently as possible”.[/gdlr_quote]
Increased capacity, no stops and better working environment
The great advantage of the new grading system is the large capacity increase of 50%, compared to the previous system. The new grading system has been running impeccably, without any stops, since it was installed.
As a side benefit, the working environment has been signifi-cantly improved with the new inspection table, which makes it possible, to adjust the running speed of the potatoes. The adjustable speed, means that the employees will not be as stressed, by standing at the table. Something, that is greatly appreciated. In addition, the employees are very pleased with the new Evenflow (silo), which is located right in front of the big bag filler.
The Evenflow gives flexibility and more time to change bags. Previously, you had to be prepared with the forklift truck and ready with a new bag, otherwise the system would stop. Now there is less stress and the employees have 5-10 minutes to change bags. This eases the work of the employee, who is driving the forklift truck.
The Lauritsen brothers are very pleased with the project pro-cess, as well as the contact, they have had with Bøje Olesen from Skals and the technical department. It has been a long process from idea to production. The expectations have been fully met.
Poul Lauritsen comments:
[gdlr_quote align=”center” ]We are very pleased with the grading system.
We went for a quality system, which had to be adapted and customized, for it
to fit our existing building, based on our wishes.
And that is exactly, what we got. Skals has tailored a grading system, which fully matches our needs. That is the strength of Skals.”[/gdlr_quote]