MSP Onions buys 12 lane Eqraft Optical Grader
During the Fruit Logistica, Eqraft presented itself to the international public in its new house style for the first time ever. After the merger of ERC, Qreenno and Propak, the company, with its new look, is now ready to develop the Factory of the Future as integral advisor and supplier. That this need is present on the market, becomes clear from the order MSP Onions placed for a 12-tracked optical onion sorting machine.
“The global onion sector is changing. We believe in the future of optically sorting onions. With that, we want to make the world a bit smaller in order to decrease competitive pressure. I am convinced that we can start making a technical difference with this technique, especially during the second half of the season. There is much interest from customers.The image of the Dutch onion quality has to be brushed up internationally, research, but also innovations such as these are the correct tools to do that. That is why I am hoping more onion processors will follow,” says Lindert Moerdijk from MSP Onions.
A bottleneck for many companies is that the optical sorting machine cannot be installed within the existing company situation. For MSP, this was also a reason to expand with a new building besides the current location. “People are currently starting to prepare for the construction,” Lindert continues. “We want to thank the support of the province of Zeeland and the municipality of Borsele, who truly see this as a showcase project for sustainability and innovation.”
MSP looked before they leapt with the purchase of the machine. “We visited companies, both domestic and abroad, who optically sort onions. Of the two available machines, we found that based on the three criteria we had, size, internal and external quality, that this machine was lightyears ahead of all three criteria. Moreover, our condition was always that the sorting had to be better than manual sorting in any case. But the fact is that the machine is already more consistent and more accurate in references than people are,” Lindert says.
“the sorting had to be better than manual sorting in any case.”
Lindert Moerdijk - MSP
Eqraft’s Optical Grader sorts onions internally and externally at high speed, based on size, colour, shape, weight and both internal and external quality. During this process, the onion first has to be singled out to be placed in a cup one by one. Remarkable was the high degree of cup-filling seen at Hoza. Modesta’s Blower Beam removes loose skins and possible dirt from the onions. Additionally, the camera units have a completely integrated overpressure system, and the machine has a washing installation for the cups. A conscious choice has been made to continue with the concept of sorting onions on a hollow cup, and gathering data from unmoving product.
“Unique in the Eqraft machine, in our opinion, is that it is a smart, future-focused, Dutch onion machine. A large number of improvements have been made in the mechanical field based on user experiences with existing sorters. Furthermore, the internal quality is decided by means of a unique system in which the actual measuring takes place in a dark room beneath the cup in order to filter out as much noise as possible to get an image as clear as possible. In order to do that, the cameras make a still image of the onions, compared to other machines on the market, and the onions are treated in a product-friendly manner. These are all reasons to choose this Eqraft technology,” Moerdijk says.
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“The most unique thing is the neural network that is about to be implemented, which assesses onions as they are supposed to be assessed, considering seasons based on characteristics and not based on colour variations. For us, an advantage is that we can start processing our onions and gather data with Hoza in Oudenhoorn, which made this investment for the selection of plant material earlier, and who only uses the machine a few weeks of the year.”
“In the coming months we will have to answer the question of how to classify the onions based on the ‘market-processing-technique’ triangle, in a participation project unique to the sector. That is a wonderful challenge. I am convinced optical sorting can contribute to making agriculture more sustainable. Optical sorting is a great solution for cultivators as well. As of yet we are still mainly active on export markets, but I expect that this technique will also make us interesting for retail channels. Concerning sustainability, efficiency, food safety, gentle handling and quality, no supermarket will be able to ignore this.”
Rutger Keurhorst (manager Sales & Marketing for Eqraft) is proud that a renowned company such as MSP has chosen their optical sorting machine. “The wonderful things is that we developed Onion Tech Alliance (OTA) from various professions. That resulted in the best possible machine, rather than that the focus is on sales. The time of tying loose components together is truly over. We hope that more processing companies join our participation project in the coming period, we need each other to get even further. We have all the ingredients from advice, design and assembly to complete mechanisation and automation at our disposal in order to build the factory of the future!”
Lindert confirms that: “The combination of Modesta and Eqraft has proven to be a wiz in the field of advice and development, I do not have to explain the quality of their machines to anyone. The new energy this team now expresses is reflected in the plans that are already on the table.”