Cross Agricultural Engineering manufacture a range of Beet Washers, De-stoners and Choppers. All beet washers first pre-clean the sugar beet, then de-stone the beet, wash the beet and finally chop the beet. The main use for this machines is in the Biogas industry around the world, along with the sugar and animal feed industry. Up to now all Cross beet washers had been manually controlled with levers mounted on the machine. All Beet washers were also powered by the PTO of a tractor or an on-board engine. This meant Biogas plants had to tie up a tractor on the machine or have an extra diesel supply.
The new Automated Beet Washer has a computer control system on board to control the machine processes. While washing beet on the old system the operator had to stay by the levers and adjust continuously to ensure the machine operated correctly. The new computer controlled system is used to control the machines whole operation. The system consists of a PLC computer, LCD screen, electric solenoid valves and a large amount of sensors at various locations around the machine. The screen consists of 6 buttons which are used to control the machine. Each button command is in the program of the PLC. Once a button is pressed it refers back to the program and opens the solenoids which run the machine. The machine program runs in a specific way to ensure optimum output of the machine and eliminate breakdowns. This computer control system monitors all the oil pressures in the machine and monitors the speed of every part of the machine. It then displays this info on a digital read out mounted on the machine. The PLC computer which is also connected to the screen runs a program based on the readings from the oil pressures and speeds to make sure the machine runs perfect and also monitors the operation of the machine to ensure it doesn’t block or break down. The speed of the machine can be altered from the LCD screen and the program stops you going too fast to cause damage. The screen also has a history display, job recorder, service plan recorder and total machine usage recorder.
A 3 phase motor was used on the machine rather than the previous power sources. This is due to the fact that biogas plants all produce large amounts of electricity and can use this to power a machine. Up to now they were buying diesel and running an engine or a tractor, now they can use some of the electricity they are producing and in turn keep the machine emissions free which lets them use the machine indoors in a factory location. The 3 phase motor is also more cost effective than diesel even if you don’t produce your own electricity which is the case of sugar factories and farms.