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Potato processor Mol: clean air is essential

Fine dust reduced to a minimum in potato processing

Fine dust is extracted at nineteen points in the sorting, packing and weighing line at the newAardappelhandel Mol BV location in Westmaas. From infeed to bagged potatoes, specialist Jongejans Luchttechniek has provided a solution in places where dust can easily spread. This primarily ensures a pleasant working environment and is therefore worth every euro invested, according to owner Marco Mol. “The consequences of dust that is constantly being spread due to all the movements in a hall cannot be underestimated.”

Dust is extracted where it spreads

Even after two and a half years and forty thousand tonnes of processed potatoes, the processing hall at Aardappelhandel Mol BV is still perfectly clean. The indoor climate doesn’t show at all that up to fifty tonnes per hour and six hundred tonnes per day of potatoes can be processed with 25 kilogram bags. Jongejans Luchttechniek applied a compressed air cleaned filter (PGF) for the Westmaas potato processor specially for fine dust. This PGF500 is fitted with filter cartridges, so that the air is returned clean in to the working area. The installation is equipped with a high-efficiency fan that is both statically and dynamically balanced.

Unloaders, shakers, tilters, brushes, baggers and weighing machines are all places where dust is spread. Dust tents are placed at these locations in the line, with an extraction point above. A negative pressure is created in the tent, this prevents dust from spreading and makes it easier to extract the dirty air.

A ‘lint collector with slotted tubes’ is connected to the bagger. The tubes collect dust and lint. The lint collector takes the lint out of the air, preventing it from passing through to the filter. The installation is equipped with an automatic cleaning programme for the filter cartridges. This is done by applying pulses of compressed air to the inside of the cartridges. They clear the rough dirt, so to speak, from the filters, which then falls down into the waste collection.

Doubling turnover volume

Potato Mol moved from Puttershoek to the new location in Westmaas two years ago. A location that is three times larger. “We have grown along with the demand of our customers. We mainly get our potatoes from growers in the Hoeksche Waard and surrounding areas and transport the products throughout the Netherlands using our own transport equipment.” Since the move, the turnover volume has just about doubled. “At the old location in Puttershoek, it was difficult to expand. After a search, we decided to build new premises at this spot in Westmaas.”

Marco Mol explains that Jongejans Luchttechniek was specifically asked to supply a complete solution. Ultimately, dust is now extracted from nineteen places. “You can’t do half the work of solving dust dispersion.” The DT-Dijkstra sorting installation and the Eqraft processing line are equipped with an extraction system. “In fact, we now prevent potatoes from being a source of dust dispersion during the entire process, from infeed to the bag.”

Extraction done right from the start

Mol is pleased with Jongejans’ approach. “From the moment they measured and drew the installation, you can see that they are the absolute specialists in the field of air technology”, he says. The result is impressive. “You notice that the air is refreshed three times an hour. In a room where products from the field are processed, the air is often stuffy. You could see the dust particles going through the air. In many places you would see a layer of dust. Forklift truck movements then move it around again. With dust problems, you find yourself in a visual circle. It was the same at our old location. You want to prevent this for yourself and the staff. You don’t want the working conditions to lead to people suffering from dust lung disease.

A healthier working environment

The extraction system is frequency controlled. If the packing or sorting line is switched on, the air in that section is extracted. “We don’t have to do anything about it. The only thing we have to do is empty the tilting bin once every one and a half to two weeks. You can imagine how much dust is extracted then.”

The reactions are purely positive, although in the old situation the Mol family was the only one who had to deal with the dust curtain. “The dust is gone now. The work is much cleaner. You notice that immediately. The workplace is much healthier and nicer now.”

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