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Using X-ray inspection for automated sorting of sheathed corn cobsAsahikawa Scale Co., Ltd.

2020.03.19

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Using X-rays to judge the plumpness of kernels at the tip of corn cobs

Product Name = X-Ray Inspection Equipment for Corn Cob Tip Sterility

Reduces personnel and saves time when sorting corn

Until now, when corn was shipped in the sheath, human workers had to feel the cob tip by hand in order to judge the plumpness of kernels at the tip. However, this method had many problems, such as a variation in sorting accuracy and poor work efficiency. Asahikawa Scale Co., Ltd. developed X-Ray Inspection Equipment for Corn Cob Tip Sterility. Automating the inspection of corn cob tips significantly improves accuracy and increases work efficiency.

The probability of shipping unacceptable corn is greatly reduced, leading to increased trust and improved brand power. In addition, the corn harvest season is a busy season that overlaps with other vegetable harvest seasons. This creates a serious labor shortage in the overall industry. Using the X-Ray Inspection Equipment could reduce the required personnel in half. Currently, it is now possible to measure the estimated weight based on the density determined via X-rays. Furthermore, it is also possible to inspect cavities of other vegetables such as potatoes and radishes. This further improves the value of the X-Ray Insepction Equipment as a solution for the entire agricultural industry.

Enables simultaneous sorting based on weight and tip sterility

By using X-rays on sheathed corn, the X-Ray Inspection Equipment can confirm the actual plumpness of the tip from the degree of permeability. Asahikawa Scale, which had been conducting research and development of X-ray equipment for inspecting foreign matter, received an inquiry as to whether its technology could be applied to fruits and vegetables. Afterwards, the company held performance testing with cooperation from organizations such as the Central Agricultural Experiment Station of the Hokkaido Research Organization and the Agricultural Facilities Section of the Hokuren Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives. After improving the inspection accuracy, Asahikawa Scale began selling the equipment.

When sorting by weight, accuracy can be improved even further by placing a weight checker behind the X-Ray Inspection Equipment.

Expected to be used for vegetables other than corn

The X-Ray Inspection Equipment has been implemented by agricultural cooperatives in the Tokachi District of Hokkaido Prefecture and agricultural production corporations in Toyama Prefecture. In some cases, a decrease in the distribution of corn cobs with sterile tips has led to a decrease in unsold corn at stores, thus resulting in an increased unit sales price at the time of shipment. Asahikawa Scale has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users: "Four people were able to do work which previously required seven people." "Overtime was decreased." "Labor costs were decreased." "It's great being able to use the equipment throughout the year for other crops."

Moving forward, the company hopes to leverage the strengths of this one-of-a-kind product to help solve challenges faced by even more farmers. Asahikawa Scale will have a significant role in the future of Japanese agriculture, an industry where severe labor shortages are expected to occur.

Coverage date January 15, 2020

 

Company overview

Asahikawa Scale Co., Ltd.

Established in 1955 in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, as Asahikawa Doryo Koki Co., Ltd. For more than 60 years since its establishment, the company has continued to design, manufacture, sell, repair, maintain, and inspect weighing and measuring machines that meet customer needs. Main customers include food processing, manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries, and industrial fields.

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