Tong Engineering, the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of quality vegetable handling equipment has launched its latest innovation in crop cleaning with the new EasyClean Hydro-Sep.
Designed for the vegetable processing market the new EasyClean Hydro-Sep offers growers, processors and packers the ultimate crop cleaning solution with exceptionally effective cleaning results. It also helps to significantly reduce wear and tear on packhouse equipment by removing potentially damaging sand, stones and debris from crop right at the beginning of the handling process.
Incorporating the proven EasyClean separator, which is also featured in Tong’s market leading Caretaker mobile vegetable grader, the EasyClean Hydro-Sep uniquely combines the separating capabilities of the EasyClean with the company’s best-selling destoner. This unique combination of a traditionally dry separator, with a Jacuzzi-style water-filled destoner creates a wet cleaning, destoning and debris removal process that allows extraction of soil, stones, haulm and debris from a wide variety of root crops including carrots, parsnips, potatoes, red beet, celeriac and more.
The EasyClean Hydro-Sep is designed to be fed by crop straight from the field or storage, which commonly contains sand, soil, stones, haulm, debris and in the case of carrots, very often straw. Crop and debris is fed into the water-filled destoner tank where stones and large clods are instantly removed as they sink to the bottom of the Jacuzzi-style tank whilst crop and other floating debris pass over to the EasyClean separator. The wet crop is then separated from any remaining debris and straw or haulm, as it is effectively extracted by the finely-tuned configuration of the EasyClean’s deformable fluted rollers and clod rollers. This initiates a pre-wash process, resulting in an exceptionally clean load of crop ready for processing, with all stones and debris removed.
Showcased for the first time on Tong’s stand at Lamma, the EasyClean Hydro-Sep is already proving to offer remarkable results for one grower in East Yorkshire. MH Poskitts Ltd trialled the machine on carrots, parsnips and potatoes. After investing in a Tong Fieldloader early in 2014 for multi-site and in-field crop cleaning and inspecting, Poskitts were interested to see how the new EasyClean Hydro-Sep could offer further efficiencies to its current crop handling process, particularly when used on its renowned carrot crop.
“The machine has done a job that we’ve not been able to achieve before” explains Rob Baldwin, Production Manager at Poskitts. “When our carrot crop is harvested we store a proportion of it under straw, which then means when the crop is called for process, we have to remove the straw from the crop before it is sent for processing. This is always a challenge and has involved a lot of manual labour before. We’re very impressed at how effectively the EasyClean Hydro-Sep removed straw and other debris from the crop leaving us with only completely clean carrots! Not only that, part of our ongoing costs is on maintenance in the packhouse, partly caused by the amount of sand and debris that carries through with the crop. I can see the new EasyClean Hydro-Sep significantly reducing wear on our machinery.”
Charlie Rich, Export Sales Manager at Tong has been involved in the launch of the new product and confirms, “Combining what is normally used as a dry separator within a wet vegetable destoner is a totally new crop cleaning concept. The EasyClean Hydro-Sep has been designed to offer a unique piece of equipment that we’re confident will prove invaluable to many growers and processors. The fact that the crop and any debris surrounding it is wet, allows the EasyClean to offer even better extraction on crops such as carrots where we’d normally limit extraction due to the shape of the crop. With our Blue Inverter Technology direct drive on every shaft, the EasyClean Hydro-Sep runs very efficiently. It can be specified as a mobile unit for growers to use in the field or incorporated with a wet hopper for operation within a static packhouse installation.”
The Tong EasyClean Hydro-Sep has been developed in conjunction with Scotts Precision Manufacturing and Steenvoorden Machines BV, and is built and sold in the UK under license to Steenvoorden Machines BV, owner of the patented design.