Combining the automatic sorting of tomato plants with a strict hygiene policy; does that work?

Recently, Vreugdenhil Young Plants had two completely new TTA sorting lines (MaxSorter) installed. The MaxSorter sorts tomato plant seedlings into four grades and waste, while automatically disinfecting the plant grippers.

By investing in this machine, Vreugdenhil Young Plants takes hygiene of the growing process to a higher level. The company has been GSPP (Good Seed and Plant Practices) certified since 2011. The certified process is secured via a GSPP risk analysis through the disinfection steps with the plant grippers.

Cock Groenendaal (Operational Manager Vreugdenhil Young Plants) explains: "In growing young vegetable plants, we apply a very strict hygiene protocol. Because of all the viruses and bacteria that could come from outside, we are required to work more and more strictly in terms of hygiene. We inspect the incoming seeds by checking whether the plant passport is in order and if it concerns GSPP seeds. Our additional wish is for all plant grippers to be disinfected because they touch the plants. That was an essential focal point for us in choosing these machines".

Geert Maris (General Sales Manager, TTA): "We clearly notice an increase in requests for the automatic disinfection of plant grippers. Not only with sorting machines for vegetable seedlings, soft fruit and flowers, but also conventional planting machines. All cultivated plants come through the grading machine or the planting machine. The MaxSorter offers the possibility to prevent the spreading of bacteria and viruses actively. The disinfection system consists of two water basins, one with a heating element and one without to cool down the plant grippers. The client can determine the disinfection temperature for the plants in advance. The client can set the interval, disinfection and cooling time".

The introduction of the newly developed MaxSorter will take place this week at IPM in Essen. The MaxSorter is in particular suitable for plants that are returned to the same size tray during sorting, such as vegetable plants, lisianthus and cyclamen. The MaxSorter uses directly-driven magnetic motors. This enables the MaxSorter to sort the plants very accurately and with a high capacity.