By carolemetcalfe

Onion Grading at Elveden Farms

Tong Onion Grading Line Sizer Grader

When Elveden Farms needed to upgrade their onion processing equipment in order to increase throughput they looked to the UK’s most established vegetable handling equipment manufacturers, Tong, for help.

Working from the Elveden Estate in Thetford, on the Norfolk/Suffolk Border, the farm extends to over 10,000 acres, making it one of the largest single farm units in Britain. It provides crop such as potatoes, carrots, barley and parsnips and is the largest producer of rye in the UK. Elveden farms also market over 20,000 tonnes of onions each year.

In order to keep abreast of the industry and maintain the high quality of their produce, Elveden approached Lincolnshire based engineering company Tong to create a complete onion grading system, which was specifically designed to incorporate new and existing equipment with the aim of increasing throughput.

The new equipment featured a heavy duty Tong Caretaker-style in-feed hopper to transport the onions to a pre-inspection table. Onion topping equipment was also incorporated into the Tong line, manufactured by Dutch firm ERC Machinery. The onion topper removes excess top from onions before they are carried to the Tong EasyGrade screen grading modules.

The EasyGrade screens are capable of handling a high volume of throughput, which made it perfect for Elveden Farms’ high capacity requirements.

Andrew Francis, senior farm manager of Elveden Farms said, “We chose Tong when upgrading our onion line and they proved to be the right fit for us. The new machinery offers us the flexibility we need. Being able to incorporate some of our existing equipment into our new high capacity grading line allowed us to upgrade our equipment whilst changing the configuration of our line to give us maximum throughput and efficiency.

“Tong’s aftercare support was also a draw to us, as the company are on hand to help us with any problems we may encounter throughout the life of the machines,” he continued.

Tong’s Sales Manager, Charlie Rich commented, “When we were contacted by Elveden Farms with a request to increase their onion throughput we offered machinery that allows them to meet high volumes in short lead-times and with the highest possible levels of accuracy, efficiency and reliability. Our ability to provide a bespoke designed handling line allowed existing and new equipment to be integrated to achieve a completely new onion handling facility, which is what Elveden required.”

He added, “We’re delighted to have been able to assist Elveden from the initial designs, incorporating the new and older machinery, right through to installation and beyond.”