A common issue facing Potato Chip manufacturers is the variance of the product in its raw form. Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes and while improvements in growing conditions has somewhat resulted in sizing consistency - the gap still exists between the smallest and largest potato in any delivery.
Despite this variance it is desirable for the chips in the final packaged product to be consistently sized, not only from one chip to the next but also the ratio between chip and bag size.
Take for example the small snack size bag ideal for school lunch boxes. If the raw potatoes were large, by weight the resulting large potato slices will mean the actual number of chips in the pack will be low. While the packet weight is the same as one with 'smaller' chips consumers feel they are getting less. A ‘large’ chip is deemed more acceptable in a larger family style pack.
Sizing potatoes is not just in the production of potato chips, new products in the convenience foods sector now include portion-controlled potato pieces that have been sized to suit a specific calorie unit of measurement.
After recognizing many of our customers needed to overcome the problem of size irregularity in potato supply, our engineering department developed the Potato Grader-Halver as the cost effective solution to consistently grade and halve potatoes all in the one machine.
The Grader-Halver is designed to grade potatoes according to size and halve the product sorted as larger than the predetermined size. The machine also has the ability to adjust the grading size with ease and at any time during the production process. This feature improves the grading success resulting in final (in bag) product consistency.
And most importantly, this process stops chips getting “stuck” in the former of the bagmaker when packaging ‘snack’ size packs.
Featuring a full length grading area to prevent small product from ‘skipping’, and then passing through a short grading, as well as an adjustable reject for very small potatoes and foreign objects.
The Grader-Halver model has 2 different size options, a 5 lane (throughput of 5000kg per hour) and a 7 lane (throughput of 8000kg per hour).
The Grader-Halver is designed to slot into the processing line after the peelers and before the Inspection and Trim Table (Rollers). The system consists of a rugged stainless steel frame, adjustable multiple auger system featuring adjustable phasing, a roller conveyor, and slicing discs to halve larger potatoes. Potatoes are delivered to the infeed of the Grader-Halver from upstream equipment. Adjustable grading augers sort product by size, after which over-sized product passes to a circular knife arrangement for halving.
Larger sized product continues along to the grading augers while undersized product falls through. Adjustment can be done during operation giving instant assessment of grading size. Product that falls into the adjustable chute is directed into the FastBack 260E conveyor pan below the Grader-Halver machine and continues along the line.
Product sorted as being larger than the maximum set size passes to the roller conveyor which orients the product and transports it to the circular halving knives which then halves the potatoes across the longest dimension.
Halved product items fall from the circular knives onto a curved chute that carries them to the FastBack 260E conveyor pan to mix with the previously sorted smaller items to be passed to further downstream equipment for further processing.
The Heat and Control Grader-Halver provides consistency of potato grading and halving in a convenient, low maintenance, cost effective system, and is part of our complete potato handling, processing and packaging solutions.