Packer staff writer Vicky Boyd attended Potato Expo 2013 Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas and compiled these news items from the expo floor.
The Celox XT optical grader and sizer from Ag-Pak, Gasport, N.Y., uses white light against a blue background to highlight defects, said Michael Barrett, salesman. Wet potatoes or carrots from the washer move along blue cross-rotating rollers that turn each tuber so a camera can take 35-40 individual images. A computer then analyzes the images, which represent about 95% of each tuber’s or root’s surface, and diverts it to the proper outlet based on quality.
Innovative Packaging Solutions
The intermediate scale for bagged produce from Innovative Packaging Solutions, Cumming, Ga., can handle up to 60 bags per minute, depending on their length, said Walter Brookbank, owner. It provides nearly 100% quality control of packed product and yields a report so users can monitor packing operations.
“It cuts down on you giving away product, and it ensures you don’t have any more rejected loads or fines,” he said.
SunRain Varieties LLC, an Idaho Falls, Idaho-based potato seed company that markets more than 100 varieties, showed off some of its proprietary types.
Jorg Renatus with Europlant Pflanzenzucht GmbH, a Luneburg, Germany, plant breeding company, said he predicts varieties with unique traits, such as high nutritional levels, will grow in popularity in the U.S. as they have in Europe.
“I’m very sure this is a trend that is not going to stop and turn back,” he said.
The Odenberg Halo from Tomra Sorting Solutions, Asker, Norway, can sort and grade several washed vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans and cucumbers, said Jeff Nielsen, area sales manager for the Southeast. It uses multi-spectral lights on both the top and bottom of the line to detect surface defects as small as 1 millimeter. A computer analyzes the data on the fly and tells fingers into which of three grade streams to eject the item.