Production line improvements


22 May 2023
Grower/supplier sees better efficiency and savings on both electric and water.

FREDERICK Hiam Foods, which has been growing, packing, and supplying London wholesale markets with potatoes for more than 110 years, has installed new machinery in its processing line to improve factory efficiency.

The new machinery has been provided by Wyma, a post-harvest handling solutions provider which services more than 90 markets globally.

Frederick Hiam Managing Director, Jamie Lockhart, said: “It was quite an eye opener to us when we had the line survey of our existing equipment to find that we were at best, 60% efficient on our trimmers. We're now looking at somewhere in excess of 90%.”

The Wyma team discovered a range of issues on the Frederick Hiam line, from ineffective destoning, which was causing stones to find their way into the trimming section, to poor cleaning and conveyor sweeps that were prone to blocking.

A cyclone destoner, a wet hopper, pre-cutting polisher and a pre-cutting lift roller sizer have now been installed to address the issues and improve productivity.

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Jamie said the project has provided other advantages.

“One of them is around energy,” he said. “Obviously the cost of electricity is eye watering at the moment, and we are seeing somewhere in the region of 20 to 25% saving on energy usage. The other is water. Water is an ever-increasingly rare resource and we're hopeful that this line will save somewhere in the region of 30% of the water usage.” 

Other improvements include fewer drops and better transitions in the line, which leads to better crop presentation and lower risk of rejection owing to bruising. 

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