With over a year to go before the SIMA mechanization exhibition will take place in Paris in November 2022, the event organisation held a press day on January 28.
During this meeting, the nominees for the SIMA Innovation Awards 2021, scheduled to be awarded on April 22 of this year, were announced. Among the contenders, the potato industry is represented with a nomination for manufacturer DOWNS in the “From harvest to storage” Category.
Frédéric Martin, president of the French mechanization organization Axema and president of SIMA, also announced that the worldwide market for agricultural machines has reached 142 billion euros in 2020. Investments amounted to 38 billion in Europe and 6 billion in France. This makes France the largest market for mechanization in Europe and, after the USA, the second largest importer worldwide. Due to the corona crisis the market was under considerable pressure in France last spring, with a drop of 10 to 15 percent in sales. After the summer however, trade picked up again and eventually the drop in sales amounted to just 2 percent in 2020. To emphasize the innovative character of the European agricultural sector in the run-up to SIMA taking place again in Paris in 2022, the organization has set up two competitions, said Isabelle Alfano, director of the SIMA. These are the SIMA Farming Awards, where innovation growers can present themselves, and the SIMA Innovation Awards 2021, focusing on manufacturers. The award winners will be honoured during an event of Axema and SIMA, on April 22 of this year.
With a strong link to the potato industry, designer and manufacturer of handling and storing solutions DOWNS has been nominated with their innovative optical potato sorter CropVision. DOWNS director Damien Dubrulle told PotatoWorld magazine the CropVision “belongs to a new generation of optical sorting machines for unwashed potatoes”. During an interview conducted online, he explained that the machine is equipped with the latest technological Artificial Intelligence innovations, enabling the machine to achieve a capacity of up to 100 tons per hour when storing. According to Dubrulle, this innovation is the result of four years of development. “The CropVision is equipped with industrial cameras, coupled with an Artificial Intelligence algorithm. This unique and patented combination makes it possible to view and analyse the whole surface of the tuber. Next to distinguishing tubers, clods, stones, and other waste, the machine also sees the difference between desired potatoes, green potatoes, cut potatoes and other tuber defects”, he said. “To separate the flows, there are three possible outputs. A first exit for the tubers that have no abnormalities, a second for rejected potatoes and a third for potatoes of the second category. The separation between the various flows happens through ejecting fingers guiding the product to the correct output. According to Dubrulle, this new generation of optical sorting machines is the solution to recurring problems that arise during the storage process: availability of labour, sorting quality, economic profitability, food safety and environmental impact. “The CropVision is easy to use thanks to a user-friendly touch screen and can be integrated into the company’s receiving hoppers and sorting machines. The price of the machine is 150,000 euros”, Dubrulle told PotatoWorld magazine during the interview.
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