By carolemetcalfe

High performance Carrot Sorter for UK growers

Visar Sortop - Optical Grader Tong Engineering

Tong is very proud to bring the most advanced carrot sorter to the UK market in becoming the sole UK distributor of the Swiss VISAR Sortop carrot sorter.

With over 80 years of experience in building custom made grading and handling equipment for the vegetable industry, Tong is now offering this fast and fully automated electronic optical sorter as part of its extensive product range.

The Visar Optical Sorter (Sortop) is a fully automated electronic sorter which can process any batch of carrots with high consistency and maximum efficiency, completely removing the need for manual sorting by being 100 per cent automatic.

It increases the proportion of carrots sold compared to manual sorting by up to five per cent by allowing growers and pack houses to sort, grade and weigh produce more efficiently and accurately in order to meet customer demands.

With a capacity of up to 15 carrots per second, the capacity of each machine varies according to carrot diameter. The Sortop’s inbuilt technology can also combine mulitiple machines in a line, increasing the throughputs yet further.

The Sortop uses new optical sorting technology, which is based upon a 360-degree mirror system and HD camera for greater accuracy at speed. It is designed to accept any form of carrot even one that is highly twisted, and can detect faults to the nearest millimetre or gram.

After the carrot has passed the camera, the machine removes the need for manual sorting through a compressed air ejection system that can separate crops by size, shape or weight through to six exit points. Each exit is cushioned to protect against damage and the sorted crops can then be easily moved on to another handling process or to the supermarket shelf, thanks to the machine’s low error rate – less than five per cent.

What seperates the Sortop Visar Optical Sorter from other optical graders is its intelligent software, which allows the system to work with the high standard of a manual machine, only with greater capacity and consistency, by automatically and progressively learning which faults are acceptable or not as it works. The exclusive auto-learning feature replaces the tedious process of adjusting and programming that is required with other machines.

Edward Tong, operations director at Tong, said: “This latest distribution deal with VISAR stems from the long and successful partnership we’ve enjoyed with them over many years as the distributor of Tong equipment in Switzerland.

“The fact that I am able to announce Tong as the sole UK & Ireland distributor of VISAR’s flagship machine is surely a sign that this fruitful relationship will continue for many more years to come.

“The Sortop offers a solution to that age-old problem facing every grower or packhouse: how to sort, grade or weigh large volumes of crop quickly without having to compromise on accuracy, quality or wastage.

“By detecting crop defaults in a split-second, it allows customers to increase the volumes deemed fit for sale by five per cent compared to manual sorting – an impressive increase in a sector where small improvements can make a big difference.

“Imported direct from Europe, the Sortop can be integrated into new customer orders built bespoke at our Lincolnshire headquarters, or retrofitted on to our existing customers’ handling lines.”