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The evolution of a market leading separator

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2020 has been a year of unprecedented success for Scotts Precision Manufacturing and sales of its Evolution Separator. Here, Derek Scott, managing director, outlines what makes the Evolution so effective.

With more than 650 units sold since it was introduced in 2005, the Evolution is universally recognised as the market-leading separator. It is in use around the world, with Evolutions found in the UK, across Europe, North America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

2020 has seen more than 80 Evolutions leave Scotts’ Lincolnshire factory. 

The Evolution’s popularity is due to its ability to clean virtually all root crops, fruits and alliums gently and without crop losses and in extreme conditions.

Like all good engineers, Derek is continually looking at how he can improve his designs, and in 2014 he gave the Evolution a substantial makeover. Adding direct drives to the machine was a significant step forward, and while from the outside it was difficult for users to see the differences from previous models, there were considerable changes made under the skin of the Evolution. 

Derek and his team at Scotts focus on producing the high-quality machines possible and have total control of all aspects of the manufacturing process, including the polyurethane casting, which sits at the heart of the Evolution. 

In-house 3D CAD modelling together with 3D printing and CNC machining allow Scotts to develop prototype new designs of the spiral roller designs in days not weeks.

“We are always trying to improve,” says Derek. “By having the ability to produce the spiral rollers in-house, we can try out new ideas quickly. We’re not afraid to try things that people would consider ‘wacky’ or ‘daft’. Even if the idea falls flat, we are still learning something.”

It is that curiosity, trial and error and a focus on improvement that has led to the high-performance spiral roller segment that sits inside the Evolution today. 

How does it work?

The spiral roller working in tandem with the following clod roller or “P roller” has 2 jobs. Extracting haulm/leaf matter and everything else (clod, stones soil) both require different attributes within the spiral segment design.

Let’s take haulm for the first example – you need to firmly pinch the stems tightly between the rollers to extract them quickly so a large contact area between the rollers and a stiff rib are the key. The Evolution spiral rollers feature a flat topped rib. The rib itself has a stiff construction and does not easily deflect away as it “pinches” the haulm against the clod roller. This eliminates bunging of root balls. There is no need to have the pair of rollers pressed together (causing premature wear) we can simply just leave a 1mm gap.

“Extracting clod, stones, mud etc, we rely on the ribs or “tread pattern” to nibble away at the clods,” says Derek. “The design of the rib / shape of the valley allows anything that’s an irregular shape to be grabbed by the ribs and pulled down between the rollers. At this point it is essential that the tread pattern does not completely fill up with soil and become smooth and the roller itself can deform around harder clods and especially stones. We feature large multiple air chambers that solves these two problems and this is where recent development has been focussed.”

Self cleaning then is the key and this ONLY happens when two things exist at the same time: Self cleaning then is the key and this ONLY happens when two things exist at the same time: Firstly, regular deformation of the roller body, and secondly inertia (we recommend 130RPM in wet conditions).

In its quest to design and make a higher performing spiral roller a reality, Scotts does not take the simple approach of aligning the air chamber directly underneath the spiralling outer rib. This dramatically reduces the “pinch effect” and causes bunging, rather, we run our air chambers (and spokes) parallel to the shaft together with strategically placed foam pockets.

What this then gives us is varying stiffness along each alternate rib to increase the “pinch effect” against the haulm, yet allowing the very best deformation. The inclusion of a foam section also protects the ribs from stone damage.

Says Derek: “The Evolution has broad appeal. It is used by farmers as part of an on-farm harvesting process and incorporated extensively into processing lines by some of the world’s leading vegetable handling machinery manufacturers. Both groups are united by their desire to use a thoughtfully designed, exceptionally manufactured and effective separator – that’s why they choose the Evolution.”

For more information about Scotts and the Evolution, visit, email [email protected] or phone 01205 270128.

The video below can also be viewed on Scotts YouTube channel here – where you will be able to watch all videos of Scotts’ products.

Source: Scotts Precision Manufacturing

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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