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Part of Germany-based KWS, the fourth largest seed producer in the world, KWS Brazil is mainly focused on the corn seed market, although its product range also includes soybean and sorghum varieties. The company established its Brazilian operations in 2012, in Minas Gerais, and has since consolidated its position in the country’s seed production market. It stands out for the genetic improvement which enables it to cover all the main environments in Brazil. With its extensive genetic bank, it offers a complete portfolio capable of meeting the needs of all regions in the country.
In 2019, Brazil became the largest corn exporter in the world, even overtaking the United States, with 44.9 million tons shipped – an 88% increase compared to the previous year. It is one of the most important crops in the country and, with this exponential increase in exports, the quality of the product has become increasingly important. As a result, local producers are searching for new technologies to meet the demands of the international markets.
KWS has an annual production of 2 million units of corn, sorghum and soybean seeds in Brazil. The new plant, which was inaugurated in 2019, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment according to a horizontal model of seed processing, which significantly reduces mechanical damage to the seeds during the sorting process. The company chose TOMRA Food to lead the process in order to guarantee a higher quality sorting.
Edson Rosa, KWS Production Manager, has no doubts: “The TOMRA equipment was installed in a new unit, which had no other equipment, to optimize and automate our processes. The choice made by the company is part of a process of continuous improvement in our machines. The equipment is performing well, and is contributing to the high quality of our corn products, reducing losses and helping to increase production.”
Following a detailed analysis of KWS’s processes, TOMRA engineers concluded that the ZEA would be the ideal equipment to increase the quality or the corn seed sorting process. The ZEA is positioned after the Husker, where the corn ears are spread out, aligned and transported by the integrated vibratory system to the acceleration belt that feeds the sorter. The acceleration belt conveys the corn ears to the scanning area, where the sensors sort the corn ears in their entirety. In a few milliseconds, a signal is sent to the positioning system of the selector fingers, centered on the exit chute, where they guide the products to different conveyors. The corn ears without Husk and in good condition proceed to the production line, while the corn ears with Husk are returned to the Husker or to another process as defined by the customer. The ZEA machine can also be configured for specific projects to eject foreign materials, rogue corn, imperfections and scraps onto a third conveyor.
João Medeiros, Commercial Manager at TOMRA Food Brazil, who followed the entire project, explain the choice of the ZEA: “it is the ideal machine for in terms of efficiency, quality and cost effectiveness for processors whose ability to separate corn ears with Husk and imperfections is fundamental. It is a machine with excellent cost-benefit ratio and built to last, which is what customers always look for.”
According to Edson Rosa, the ZEA not only delivers a proven increase in quality, but also “the reduction of losses during the process, which guarantees greater quantity and quality of the product.” The KWS Production Manager goes a step further and explains the process: “We have a plant for processing our materials. The TOMRA machine is installed in the receiving section. In this way, the corn ears with Husk is received, passed through the husker and then sorted, where the ears with remaining Husk are separated to be returned to the dispatchers or fed back into the system to repeat the husking process.”
For Edson Rosa, the choice of TOMRA Food has turned out to be very profitable. He explains his satisfaction: “today we have a higher yield compared to our previous process. We have reduced fatigue for our employees and improved their quality of life – and this is our priority. The ZEA equipment has excellent quality. It is perfectly integrated into our plant, in addressing losses in the process and delivering greater product quality. Automation is the path we have taken in our pursuit of our high quality standards, and TOMRA, with its history, was the natural choice to lead the process.”