Yummy, BEETROOTS! A mighty machine as ensiling installation
The mobile installation takes care of ensiling the beetroots harvest. SEW drives move the blue conveyor belt containing the load of beetroots.
On a sunny autumn day we were a guest at Stam-Schaap Agro B.V. in Ursem (North Holland) to see a mighty machine in action. The idea for a visit arose through an enthusiastic intranet message from a field service engineer. He was impressed by the start-up of a 'monster', used to ensile beetroots. Some customers are notable for their creativity and perseverance. Stam-Schaap Agro is one such company. It's a specialist in the cultivation, trade and processing of beetroots (in Dutch: 'kroten').
Created by cooperation
Bart Vet is co-partner of Stam-Schaap Agro bv and leads us around. He talks about the origin of the company. During the allotment in the 50’s/60’s Jaap Schaap and Hans Stam started working together, each under their own name. This collaboration went so well, that they entered into a partnership. In the years that followed, their sons Kees Schaap and Maikel Stam joined the enterprise. After years of working on their own, Stam-Schaap Agro BV engaged more people and finally grew into the company it currently is. At first with a cultivation plan of 25 ha with different vegetables and bulbous plants, now grown into an area of 150 ha beetroots that are traded worldwide.
Bart: "We now have a 150 ha production and we even farm approximately 200 ha, loam-rich West-Frisian soil that is perfect for the cultivation of beetroots. It gives the beets their good sweet taste and they are quickly cooked." The company has control of a large part of the beetroots market and is able to supply year-round, in The Netherlands and throughout Europe.
Automated production process
Mighty beetroots machine
Machine for transport and sorting of beetroots in Ursem. Bron: Stam-Schaap Agro bv
In the harvesting time – from July till November – approx. 22 tons of beetroots come off the land. Bart: "This is done by two beet harvesters. Using GPS, these drive accurately within the centimeter and straight as an arrow through the land and harvest two rows at a time, about 2.5 ha per day per machine. They uproot the beets, pull them up from the soil and cut the foliage."
Caterpillar tracks spares soil structure
Bart: "Together with asa-lift we developed the machines and modified these ourselves, so that they carefully handle the vulnerable beets. For example the wheels of the two giants were replaced by three caterpillar tracks of 76 cm wide, leaving practically no deep traces in the soil, even when it’s raining. In this way the soil structure remains unchanged and the beetroot stays undamaged: round in shape, smooth as to skin and deep red in color, between 90 and 400 g. Perfectly fit for consumer and processing.
Next, while travelling, the beets are collected and sifted through a 6-ton bunker. In barely 45 s they are transferred in a dump truck by means of fall breakers and transported to the company. A part is machine-sorted and stored in 12 bunkers (silos or loading pits) for later use. For this purpose a new processing area was built with a washing installation and load pits in a streamlined logistics system in 2012. Bart: "By developing ever better storage methods the beetroots can be conserved during a long period enabling us to supply customers throughout the year."
Mighty machine ensiling installation
Mid-September Stam-Schaap starts harvesting for storage purposes. The beetroots are sorted, ensiled and covered with straw. This storage method creates a large, natural refrigerator in which the beets retain their quality perfectly.
The mobile installation performing this job, is a 5-axled Terberg heavy transport truck, of which only the rolling chassis and the gearbox are reused. The combustion engine was removed and a generator was mounted. The truck is driven by means of the original gearbox with a SEW type R93 DV160M4 geared motor and a MOVITRAC® B type SEW frequency inverter. The installation contains both the MOVIDRIVE® B, the MOVITRAC® A, B and 31C and various drives from SEW-EURODRIVE.
Driven by two SEW gear motors
The truck is accurately positioned on the land next to the wide strips in which the beetroots are ensiled. A tractor with trailer empties its load (22 tons) on the truck’s blue conveyor belt. Two SEW geared motors (type KAZ107 DRN132M4/BE11/TF/V) are driving, each on one side, the conveyor belt. They are mechanically rigidly linked via the machine shaft.
The motors are controlled by a 30 kW MOVITRAC® B frequency inverter. In view of the desired speed range (belt speed) the decision was made to control the motors by means of the 87 Hz principle enabling a large belt speed variation while maintaining the full torque: 2 revolutions at 10 Hz and 16 revolutions at 87 Hz.
The beetroots are transported upward on the belt, are sorted at the top and led from left or right (depending on the choice) of the installation on the prepared, empty strips to be ensiled. When the track is full, straw is blown over the beetroots. The pit is now finished and the beetroots can be kept fresh for months.
SEW-EURODRIVE is impressed by the creativity of the beetroots farmer and proud that we have been able to provide a contribution to an innovative agricultural process.
Quote from Bart Vet about the support from SEW-EURODRIVE
"Stam-Schaap Agro bv is very pleased with the support and information provided by SEW-EURODRIVE. This way we were able to make the right choices with respect to the motors and drives. We thank SEW for that."