International vegetable handling equipment specialist Tong Engineering is celebrating one year of successful business since the opening of its Tong USA spares, service and sales facility in Fremont, Michigan.
Whilst the leading UK manufacturer has been exporting equipment to the USA for many years, the new office has strengthened Tong’s position in the US vegetable market, whilst bringing US growers and packers a dedicated division for more streamlined communication and quick turnaround on spare parts and support.
Charlie Rich, Head of USA Sales at Tong Engineering said: “The past 12 months have been very exciting; building relationships with new and existing Tong customers, resulting in a very positive first year for Tong USA.”
“Tong is very highly respected as a worldwide leader in quality designed and manufactured handling equipment, and our Tong USA office ensures our expanding USA customer base receives the very best customer service every step of the way. Even the simplest things like being in the same time-zone as our customers, allowing us to respond immediately to their requirements, has made such a big difference to how we do business in the USA.”
“We have had a great response from USA growers and packers looking for advanced, custom built vegetable handling solutions, with new sales ranging from individual machines such as our industry leading box and bin filler, the EasyFill, to complete turnkey grading and washing lines.”
One grower in Pennsylvania, Nate Richards of Scattered Acre Farms, appointed Tong USA to supply their new potato washing facility, which was commissioned in June and now sees the farm washing up to 30 tons of crop per hour.
“We traditionally sourced our handling equipment from US manufacturers, but when we went into bin storage and handling two years ago, we researched the market and found Tong Engineering’s range of advanced bin handling equipment would best meet our requirements,” explains Nate. “We worked closely with Tong and their east-coast US dealer Modern Produce Equipment, and they designed a custom-built bin handling system which included the Tong EasyFill bin filler and heavy duty bin tipping equipment.”
“I was very pleased with the equipment from Tong; the system works great, so when specifying our new potato washing line, we were very keen to work with Tong again, and utilise their expertise to achieve an equally efficient handling system that integrated well with our current Tong equipment. Having the Tong USA office on hand this time round made the process from initial specification to installation and commissioning even easier.”
The new washline at Scattered Acre Farms features an infeed elevator designed to receive crop from Semi trucks, before Tong’s industry leading EasyClean separator ensures effective dirt elimination prior to washing. Tong’s next generation washer with integrated destoner gently washes crop before it passes to a sponge dryer, followed by a Tomra Sentinal II for optical sorting.
“We’re delighted with our new washline from Tong,” says Nate. “We’re now operating an advanced potato washing facility that features the latest technology and optical sorting, which makes the whole operation much more productive. Tong’s HMI touch screen controls and diagnostics features have transformed our control capabilities and are dramatically reducing our downtime for maintenance.”