Leading vegetable handling equipment manufacturer Tong Engineering has announced its latest product development, which will see advanced optical sorting options available on all new models of its popular fieldloader machine, the FieldLoad PRO.
Designed to allow growers to effectively clean and load crop in-field and on-farm, the FieldLoad PRO is one of the latest Tong machines on offer with fully-integrated camera sorting facilities, further reducing labour requirements when processing crop straight from the field.
“With rising costs and an increasing need for growers to streamline their post-harvest operations to get tractors and trailers off the roads, carting less soil and generally minimising crop mileage and associated expenses, the demand for our FieldLoad PRO machine has continued to increase since its launch in 2018,” says Charlie Rich, Sales Director at Tong Engineering.
“Our flagship mobile grader, the Caretaker, has long been available with integrated optical sorting as a replacement of traditional manual inspection, with proven success and continued demand. However, with an increasing number of growers choosing the configuration of the FieldLoad PRO for maximum flexibility in loading crop straight into boxes, bulkers and bulk storage, the new option to incorporate optical stone and clod removal within one fully-integrated fieldloading machine brings an unrivalled post-harvest solution that ticks all the boxes,” explains Charlie.
Suitable for use on a wide range of root crops including potatoes, carrots, onions and more, the self-contained and compact FieldLoad PRO features a high capacity reception hopper feeding a choice of crop cleaning units including Tong’s renowned EasyClean separator available with Auto-Touch HMI controls, as well as the company’s high-speed PU coil cleaning system and star cleaning units. Custom-built to suit grower’s exact specification, the FieldLoad PRO is built with a spacious 4-man inspection area as standard, with the new optical sorting option is offered as an alternative to the standard inspection module.
“We have been working closely alongside optical sorting specialist TOMRA for many years and our recent Optical Sorting LIVE event has provided a real insight into what can be achieved when integrating optical,” says Charlie. “The event has given customers throughout the UK and worldwide a chance to see the TOMRA sorter in action at our new manufacturing facility, with the opportunity to run their own crop through the sorter. The results have been very impressive both in terms of the amount of labour that can be saved at this stage of the post-harvest handling process, as well as the potential reduction in storage costs as only good crop is being stored.”
Once crop is cleaned, Tong’s folding cart elevator cradles crop deep into bulker trailers, store or box filling equipment. A super-silent onboard generator provides power efficiency for in-field operation, which can be bypassed for mains power when operating on-farm.
“Our high-quality handling equipment is developing all the time and the new advancements are always driven by working closely with our customers to develop complete systems that overcome vegetable handling challenges in the most efficient way,” says Charlie. “The new optical sorting option on the FieldLoad PRO is our latest example of this, which will bring real savings alongside very versatile post-harvest handling.”
As an experienced optical sorting integration partner, Tong is extending its Optical Sorting LIVE event throughout the Autumn. For more details on how you can reduce labour and maximise throughput by integrating optical, or to book a live demonstration, call 01790 752771.