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TOMRA 3A Improves Output and Productivity for Premium Potato Producer

Duchemin (Caen, France) potato producers use a high-performance sorting machine, the TOMRA 3A, to process their 14,000 tonnes of potatoes, a premium product.

By using the TOMRA 3A high-performance sorting machine Duchemin (Caen, France) are able to ensure their potatoes are a premium product.

Created in 1984 in Tourville-sur-Odon in the Calvados region (14) by Catherine and Christian Duchemin, Duchemin specialise in potatoes, which they market as the brand La Ferme Du Val D’Odon. Guillaume Duchemin joined the family business 14 years ago and is in charge of site management.

Here he shares feedback on his business’ experience using the TOMRA 3A sorter, which in the past two years has been an important part of the company’s drive to optimise process and team work.

With its leading-edge multispectral technology and pulsed LEDs, the TOMRA 3A is exactly the kind of machine that can help ambitious businesses improve efficiencies and profitability.

Duchemin installed their machine in the potato storage shed, where the tractors tip full skips of potatoes straight from the fields, and here it runs at an impressive average capacity of 30 tonnes per hour.

The machine is currently running at full capacity for the second year – continuous evidence of the gains made from the innovating policy that has linked TOMRA Food and Duchemin for many years.

A partnership to adapt technology to customer needs

Duchemin is so committed to continuous improvement that it has a five-person quality committee. The aims are to reduce workplace hardship, improve productivity and identify new sales opportunities.

In 2017 Duchemin was approached to become one of the very first customers worldwide to test the TOMRA 3A prototype, a new generation sorting machine.

The business’ feedback contributed to making the TOMRA 3A an ultra-effective machine and became part of the TOMRA Food catalogue in September 2019.

After two production seasons using this machine in the potato storage shed, Duchemin has noted the added value provided by TOMRA Food.

Guillaume Duchemin:

“We are attached to TOMRA Food because it's a customer-oriented business. We didn't need to adapt our product to the machine, it's the machine that adapted to our product. That was a very positive approach!”
Grégoire Volpoet, the sales manager at TOMRA Food in France:

“Our innovation is entirely focussed on solving customer needs. We listened carefully to the feedback from this pilot customer when developing the new machine.”

Reducing workplace hardship, increasing output

The TOMRA 3A analyses the tubers as they fall and ejects foreign bodies such as stones, soil clods, and wood, and defective (green) products, while the products are moving down the processing line. The TOMRA 3A was designed to run at very high speeds without damaging the products.

At Duchemin, this machine can manage up to 30 varieties of potato, from the smallest to the largest grade, representing all the cooking segments, such as firm white flesh, firm red flesh, and chips.