By carolemetcalfe

Vegetable Handling Upgrades | The Benefits of a Project-Managed Approach

Tong Potato Hopper Tipper

With advances in vegetable handling equipment offering growers and processors more efficient and progressive ways of increasing crop value, the decision to increase the productivity of your vegetable handling processes can result in an upgrade project that requires a variety of new, and often existing handling machines to be integrated for the best results.

This, alongside the common requirement to install equipment upgrades with minimal affect on current production capacity, leaves growers and processors needing to ensure any new projects are efficiently managed, ensuring minimal downtime and maximum return on investment. In order to achieve this, site-based project management can be critical to delivering equipment upgrades that are on time and within budget.

Following our recent announcement that we are now offering a new range of vegetable processing equipment, which has been added to our existing portfolio by way of a new partnership with Netherlands-based manufacturer Marcelissen, we thought that vegetable growers and processors may be interested in the discussion surrounding the benefits of selecting a turnkey equipment supplier, for complete and efficient project management of handling equipment upgrades.

Tong Carrot Washing Grading Packhouse Line

In short, the discussion (and this blog) focuses on how, by choosing to work with one turnkey supplier, you can essentially leave the challenges and logistics of achieving a new, custom built vegetable handling line that incorporates all the equipment you need, on time and in budget, to that one supplier. How it all fits together, arrives on your site and does what it’s supposed to is left for them to manage… simple!

With the prepared produce market continuing to experience growth in-line with ongoing consumer trends towards convenience products, Tong has seen an increase in demand for turnkey vegetable peeling and processing installations that fulfill market demands. This is also true when it comes to carrot grading and potato grading, as advances in grading technology and optical sorting have resulted in many new Tong vegetable processing lines being designed to incorporate such advanced optical sorting machinery.

Tong Potato Washing Grading Optical Sorting Line

As handling equipment is continuously advancing and new technologies are available, growers and processors’ needs to update their vegetable handling equipment are more often a decision to upgrade their processes, ensuring they are the latest, most advanced and as productive as possible, rather than simply replacing an existing machine with a newer model. Therefore, choosing an experienced equipment supplier who can point you in the right direction of (and supply, of course) the most advanced equipment for each step of the handling process, becomes even more invaluable. Dealing with one turnkey equipment supplier can make the implementation of a new crop handling facility much easier, less disruptive and more successful.

With this in mind, Tong has identified a number of reliable partners, allowing us to offer a broader range of equipment for a complete turnkey solution which is project managed from start to finish.

When we asked Charles Tong, Chairman of Tong Engineering, his thoughts on the increased shift from simply machinery sales to a more complete handling solution design and management approach, particularly when working on some of the company’s larger vegetable handling projects, he emphasised the benefits of working with one experienced equipment supplier; “With over 85 years of experience in manufacturing advanced handling equipment, Tong is very used to collaborative working with other equipment suppliers, allowing us to offer complete project management to our customers, making the whole process much more hassle-free for them,” said Charles. “We design the complete handling facility to incorporate Tong’s market leading vegetable handling equipment alongside best-in-class specialist processing and packing equipment, from Visar optical sorters and Marcelissen peelers, to MAF Roda weight grading equipment. We are working with more and more clients on this basis as it means they have one point of contact for their complete handling requirements.”

One customer that Tong has recently worked with to offer a complete turnkey potato processing solution was M&F Ltd based in East Yorkshire, UK.

Potato Processing Washing Peeling Lines Tong Engineering (3)

Graham Stark, Managing Director at M&F Ltd, explains “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 give them a brief that would ensure our new processing facilities include all the necessary processes to get a very high quality end product. The final design has meant that 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, saving us time and money.”

“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. 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.

The video below shows the end results of Tong’s complete turnkey potato processing facility project at M&F:

So, to round-up the discussion on selecting an equipment manufacturer who can offer expertise in complete project management for a smoother result to your handling equipment upgrades, perhaps the key thing to remember is that technological advances in handling equipment mean there are many opportunities out there to make your current processes more productive. The question you may ask yourself, and your chosen equipment supplier, may be ‘this is what I need to achieve, what is the latest equipment to achieve that in the best possible way’? Whether you choose to invest in in the new equipment as one project, or you choose a more phased approach, this way, you can rest assured that the expertise and experience of your equipment supplier should lead you to an advanced new vegetable handling system that is designed and built to meet your needs today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.

If you would like to discuss how the latest vegetable handling equipment could help you to increase the productivity and return of your current handling process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.