Leading UK potato and vegetable handling equipment manufacturer Tong Engineering is celebrating 50 years of vegetable grading screen manufacture this month.
And now, the renowned manufacturer, has not only been producing steel grading screens in the same premises since 1970, but has also grown to become one of the largest manufacturers of steel grading screens in the world.
“We are very proud of our heritage in supplying high quality vegetable handling equipment to growers and packers in the UK and worldwide,” says Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering. “Manufacturing steel grading screens for 50 years means we have developed an inherent capability to produce a huge variety of grading screen sizes, within very short lead times, which has proved invaluable to our expanding customer base.”
Ian Evison, Aftersales Manager at Tong Engineering, oversees the grading screen production department today, and explains how it all began; “Back in 1970, a new concept in screen grading was introduced, based upon an endless rotating steel mesh grading screen ‘belt’, which replaced the traditional flat riddle system in use at the time. This new grading system significantly increased throughput capabilities for growers.”
“By the 80s, demand for greater throughput was growing significantly and the introduction of our now industry-leading mobile grader, the Caretaker, meant that much wider grading screens were required to meet those demands,” says Ian. “Whilst the construction of the grading screen has very much remained unchanged over the years, our grading screen department has doubled in size, as has the machinery!”
“We’ve seen many developments in 50 years of production,” says Ian. “The screen manufacturing was traditionally very manual and in 2014, after much research into automating the process, Tong invested in a CNC folder to increase output whilst maintaining the accuracy of the manual process. This transformed our production capabilities further and meant we can now offer the fastest turnaround of screen production on the market.”
Tong now manufactures grading screens up to 2.4m wide in a vast range of grading size options ranging from 20mm to 148mm in any width or length to suit grower’s exact requirements. As well as square screens, Tong manufactures steel hexagon grading screens for much better grading accuracy of rounded crop varieties including onions, some variety of potatoes, swedes, turnips and celeriac.
“We now operate a very strong stock-manufacturing program, allowing us to offer an even wider variety of sizes in stock, for immediate delivery,” says Ian. “We not only manufacture screens for Tong equipment worldwide, but also manufacture screens to suit other manufacturer’s equipment too, and that’s not to mention our complete in-house repair service.”
“We are dedicated to offer our customers throughout the world the complete solution to their vegetable grading needs, and as we celebrate 50 years of screen manufacturing, we are confident that we can continue to work closely with our customers over the next 50 years and beyond, manufacturing the very best quality equipment and supplies, on time and in budget.”
For more information on Tong’s latest range of handling equipment visit www.tongengineering.com.