The Dutch company RMA Techniek has combined their capabilities in robotics, smart engineering and experience in the potato processing industry in a unique way: the company has specialized in the automated quality assessment, minimizing the number of handling required by the human operator and maximizing the objectivity of the assessments by using sensors instead of human judgement.
And as PotatoPro, we are not aware of any company that has made as much progress in this area as RMA Techniek.
Automated quality control at Aviko Potato with RMA equipment (Dutch with English subtitles)
And they are not yet done.
At Interpom | Primeurs next week, they show several new areas where they have made further progress.
Automated frying colour detection
The colour card used with the traditonal way of judging frying colour
There is no doubt this is prone to human judgement factors. This is further subject to additional factors, such as the influence of daylight.
RMA Techniek has developed a frying colour assessment method that eliminates most of these factors and increases the number of samples an operator can handle in a given amount of time.
The system consists of a transportation belt running through a closed chamber. In this closed chamber, a camera and lighting is mounted. The operator puts a number of fried french fries on the belt, types in the sample number and pushes start.
The camera captures the french fries and of each individual strip the colour is measured. These data are linked to the sample code and are processed without any further human input required.
All relevant data can and settings can be seen and controlled from a screen
Characterisation of tuber size using a 3D Camera
Measuring tuber size
A belt with the tubers runs below a closed chamber, in which a camera is placed capable of measuring exact length, width height and volume of each tuber. Parameters supplied include average length, (calculated) weight, percentage and number of tubers for each selected tuber diameter category.
Measurement with a 3D camera is easier, more precise, doesn't take a lot of space and can generate a wealth of information on the tuber characteristics.
Fully Automated Cutting of Center Strips
Cutting center strips (manual positioning)
Cutting those center strips can be a lot of work and in the past RMA Techniek has already been involved with the automation this handling. The cutters developed in the past, cut a center strip from each potato that is positioned in the machine by the operator and throws it into a receiving basket.
RMA Techniek now has developed this process a step further by using a different cutting process allowing the automatic infeed of the tubers, making the whole process much more efficient.
Unlike with the previous generation of center strip cutters, a whole bag of potatoes can be deposited in the infeed all at once.
In combination with an automated frying step and the automatic frying colour detection, this opens up the potential of a completely automated frying colour assessment line.