CULT IVAT ION AND T ECHNIQUE Grading potatoes with laser and mathematics Removing undersized potatoes that are just long enough to make chips from. Knowing exactly how many seed potatoes there are in a bag. Offering microwave potatoes of precisely the same size. These topics can be accurately taken up with state-of-the-art electronic grading machines. We saw the latest development in this domain at the Dutch machinery manufacturer Climax: the Samro GS 2410-3. A red laser light beam shines on the potato and forms the basis of all kinds of mathematical calculations. A t Climax in the town of Veendam, various potato trading companies tested the Samro electronic size and shape grader at the end of May. Charles Veldt, who works for this Dutch company, has detected a great deal of interest from the market. He has noticed that in practice, grading with only a traditional square riddle, is proving a limitation for an increasing number of companies. Particularly for the longer varieties, grading on length is much more interesting. Moreover, he knows that most potatoes pass through the Samro machine with hardly any harmful dropping effects. How great the advantage actually is, has not yet been underpinned by independent research though. Mathematical calculation gives a clear picture Christof Wepfer of the Swiss Samro factory explains that the combination of a bright red laser light, a black-and-white camera, and the computer gives a clear picture of a lot. Each camera can ‘watch’ a width of 50 cm. The first step towards electronic grading with this machine is the bright coloured red laser light. This light shines a laser light beam on the potato and this forms the basis of all kinds of mathematical calculations, explains the Samro director. First the length of the tuber. On the basis of the length of exposure, the machine determines the length of the tuber. 26 Potatoworld 2006 Pagina 25

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