SoftFlow – Conveyor belt transfers
23 September 2017
Whilst storing potatoes careful handling of the crop is vital. When the product is transferred directly from one conveyor belt to another without a transfer aid the crop falls directly down onto the second belt, which is running at full speed. This may lead to superficial damage of the potato peel. Previous transfer aids have been able to reduce the impact, but have had serious side effects.
The new SoftFlow, a finger-shaped plastic comb, is made from highly elastic, low wear polyurethane (PUR). It is a newly developed system which substantially improves the protection and handling of the product in storage. It’s mounted at the delivery point of the conveyor belt. The produce is gently cushioned and transferred onto the next conveyor, where the different angle of the conveyor also isn’t a problem as the comb is flexible and can move at the sides. The soft PUR-fingers adjust themselves individually according to the specific weight of the potato or other crop. Due to the combs material properties a good self-cleaning effect is achieved, minimizing soil adhesion and no hard lumps of soil damaging the crop. Due to the constant movement and high elasticity of the single fingers no stones, lumps or weeds get trapped between them. The tilt angle is easily adjustable, always allowing for an optimal product flow through the machine.
Measurements taken with an ‘electronic potato’ (a sensor device to determine the impact of drop steps) have shown a considerable improvement. Based on the methods of the German Potato Research Center "Dethlingen" two different transfer devices were compared to SoftFlow. The result is a value for a so called "index of possible damage" with [g] as the unit of measurement. Values of 155.3 [g] for SoftFlow and 239.8 [g] respectively212.0 [g] were determined for the different devices. The research centre at Dethlingen recommended that damage indexes should not exceed 200 [g] during transit.
SoftFlow is a very easy and efficient solution which can be fitted to new and old machines alike.
Source: GRIMME Landmaschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG