A quarter century ago the invention of German engineer Dirk Helms brought an innovative and very different way to sorting to the nut industry. Until recently this approach had its niche – mainly in the confectionery industry. Today, the company had included the latest technologies to offer sorting process that responds to the requirements of the industry today.
THE CLIPPER: Helms offers a completely different approach to sorting. If you could summarize again what the difference from other sorters is?
ULRIKE HELMS: The difference of the Coravel machine to other sorters is that the machine combines three techniques in one machine. The Coravel’s core technique is ultrasound. The machine measures with sensors the surface property of the product.
The machine is mainly used for nuts such as hazelnuts for example. Nuts have a soft surface while foreign bodies such as hazelnut shell parts, wood, stones, glas, hard plastic have a hard surface. The machine detects 99,9% of all hard foreign bodies within nut kernels with ultrasound technique. In addition a sieving function and air –sifting helps the user getting rid of dust, light foreign bodies and small product components. The sieves can be adjusted in size to the customers specifications.
THE CLIPPER: In the mix of competing systems – where is the Helms process positioned best and where does it (still) add extra accuracy and efficiency?
ULRIKE HELMS:Ultrasound sorting is especially interesting for nut sorting as it still finds hard foreign bodies that optical sorters don’t find in many factories worldwide.
Besides the technique another advantage of the Coravel machine is also the robust construction (our machines run in factories without any change of major components for 15 years and longer) and easy use, which is a high advantage for people in production.
The machine has self calibration and the user can easily switch between product types without complex fals-negativ programming. The machine is equipped with artifical intelligence with algorythms that enable the machine to learn by itself how a good product sounds like while products flow over the machine and everything out of that range is defined as negative. Within 3 minutes the machine adjusts to the new product flow by itself.
In addition many of our customers appreciate our competitve prices which are also possible due to our flexible project type of working without large overheads and sales staff motivated by bonus. We do extensive testing in our workshop with our customer’s products and foreign bodies without of charge and find the best individual solution for our customers which leads to long-term satisfactory relationships.
THE CLIPPER: What is next for Helms? Is there a future for acoustic sorting with other sensor technology improving?
ULRIKE HELMS:There is a future for acousitic sorting as the benefits described above are relevant for many factories. However, the limitation of the Coravel is the sorting by color. Therefore Helms has just extended its product portfolio to also optical RGB, NIR and even x-ray sorting machines. Since one year now we have also these machines in our portfolio. The sorters are state-of-the-art with the best high-speed cameras leading to extraordinary sorting results. Now we can sort the whole spectrum of bulk goods according to color and shape such as rice, grain, tea, peas, salt and many others.
THE CLIPPER: We see a lot of new faces in the nut and dried fruit industry because businesses are transferred from father to son or daughter. What have you learned, what are you learning and how is your different perspective on the business helping you and changing business strategies?
ULRIKE HELMS: My father is entrepreneur and engineer in one person and an expert in many fields. We established together a team of experts and cooperations covering all relevant technical aspects for our business. With my business expertise and entrepreneurial spirit and the technical experts around us, we are well equipped for the future. We had a fantastic start into this year and look to the future with confidence.
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The Clipper is the market leader in global information about nuts and dried fruit: Production and Consumption trends, science and technology, marketing and business strategies for Coconuts, Peanuts, Cashew nuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Chestnuts, Betel nuts, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Kola nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Brazil nuts and dried fruit.