With the potato convenience sector continuing on an upward trend, suppliers of processed potatoes, M&F Ltd based in Woodmansey, East Yorkshire, chose Tong Engineering to design a large-scale turnkey potato processing and peeling facility, to increase the throughput and efficiency of its potato handling operations.
M&F Ltd supply processed potatoes to companies who further process the potatoes into ready meals for the UK’s major supermarkets. Handling over 100,000 tonnes of potatoes per year, the company produces high quality potatoes ranging from whole peeled to sliced, diced and chipped, and distributes them across the UK.
In order to update their current processing operations, M&F Ltd required a complete potato grading & handling facility, which Tong designed to comprise of five independent peeling lines for optimum throughput. The new facility gently handles the potatoes from receiving dirty crop in boxes to packing the processed crop ready for despatch. The lines start with a series of Tong box rotators at the infeed, which gently tip crop into five Tong bulk receiving hoppers, which ensure an even flow of crop into ten potato peeling machines.
Once crop is peeled, the potatoes pass through Tong stainless steel de-starch tanks with 900mm wide outfeed elevators and blue plastic modular belting to aid drainage of the crop after the de-starch treatment is complete. Crop is then elevated onto roller inspection tables for manual inspection prior to packing. Once inspected, all crop passes through Tong SO2 dip tanks to give the potatoes an enhanced finish and prevent discolouration of the crop. A series of metal detectors and slither removers are also incorporated within the peeling lines to ensure potatoes are in optimum condition before they are mashed, chipped, quartered, diced, sliced or roasted.
Graham Stark, Managing Director at M&F Ltd, explains “Demand for processed crop continues to increase and in line with this, our peeling facilities needed some additions and upgrades to cope with the amount and variation of crop we now need to process on a daily basis. We handle between 1200 and 1800 tonnes of potatoes a week and we needed a very efficient potato processing line to handle our crop. We have worked with Tong Engineering for a number of years and they have supplied us with grading and handling equipment that has helped to significantly improve the efficiency of our operations. That’s why, when it came to updating our peeling facilities, Tong was the natural choice for us to work with again.”
“We are very dedicated to ensuring our quality is amongst the highest in the industry, and our production plant operates to stringent health, safety and hygiene requirements. We worked very closely with Tong’s design team to ensure the new processing facilities include all the necessary processes to get a very high quality end product, whilst also allowing us to achieve several end products that meet our customers’ requirements. We can now process up to 1800 tonnes of potatoes in just a week! Our whole potato handling process is safer, quicker and much more productive.”
Simon Lee, Sales Manager at Tong Engineering added “When M&F Ltd approached us regarding their new peeling requirements we could see that whilst they needed a significant amount of new equipment, some existing equipment could still be utilised in the new design. The new processing facilities have integrated both the new and existing equipment very effectively, allowing M&F Ltd to be very flexible and responsive to their customer demand. The introduction of de-starch tanks and SO2 dip tanks means the finished quality of M&F’s processed potatoes is at its optimum.”
“From design through to installation and after care, the team at Tong Engineering have worked very hard to provide us with a complete processing facility that will meet our requirements for many years to come. With the new Tong lines, we are now very proud to be running one of the most efficient potato processing facilities in the UK,” added Graham.