Innovation in oyster grading

Innovation in Oyster Grading

You don’t become global leaders in automatic oyster grading equipment without a focus on innovation. Our business is built on innovation, putting the oyster farmer front and centre to design equipment that meets their needs.

We talk to our oyster farmers. We ask questions and we listen… and then we find solutions to their frustrations and challenges.

People working at the factory

Upgrading to Windows 10

Over the last two years, we have been working on a major software rewrite to upgrade all of our equipment to Windows 10.

Previously, we ran our machines on Windows XP, which was good for industrial equipment… but as it has been superseded, we needed to ensure the continuity of our oyster grading equipment.

This is one of those innovations that you can’t see and that doesn’t necessarily enhance the performance of the machine… but without it, the lifespan of the equipment is limited.

Factory of Oyster graders

Live oyster detection technology

Spotting dead oysters is a challenging job. And while it is a manual job, human error will always be a factor. We have the solution, as SED Graders Production Manager, Rob Deed explains:

“One of the exciting innovations we are working on is a live oyster detector. It takes what has traditionally been a very manual job that relies on the accuracy of the human eye and builds it into the automatic processes of the machine. It’s frustratingly close but it’s just not quite good enough yet.

If we can nail it, we will have removed the element of human error… and simplified the process for the farmer.”

An equipment inside a factory

Measuring the third dimension

The thing with innovation is that for every success, you have to accept trial, error and failure along the way. It’s very rarely a case of planting a seed and watching it grow.

And as we looked to build innovation to measure the third dimension, i.e. height, into our oyster graders, we certainly haven’t followed a straight line.

“We were looking for a solution to add a height measurement to the width and length our oyster graders already measure,” says Rob.

“Initially, we went down the path of using a 3D camera to take the measurement… but as we worked through the solution, we realised that if the oyster is upside down on the belt, the camera couldn’t calculate what’s below the surface.

We persisted, and ultimately we returned to an existing system we had and improved on it. This allows the operator to select oysters to either keep if they are good and deep, shift down a grade if they are a bit shallow or reject if they are too flat, using the latest sensor technology.”

Metal bin equipment

Continual innovation

Innovation at SED Graders isn’t a sometimes thing. It’s a constant journey. As technology changes, we adapt our equipment to meet changing requirements. And it’s all driven by what the oyster farmer needs.

“We’re always working on different machines and equipment to meet the needs of our oyster farmers,” says Rob. “One customer told us he needed a machine to rebag oysters to volume… so we designed a solution for him which has now evolved into the SED MK3 bagger. Likewise, a trolley to reduce manual handling for a couple who wanted to tip their oysters from trays into poly sale bags.

Our oyster graders are made from stainless steel and built to last. While the design of the machine has changed a lot over time, we still want the old ones to work, and so we design most of our innovations to be retro fitted. Over the years, we’ve even designed new and better air jets that fire off the belts. And we’ve been able to give all of our customers access to the new technology.”

Are you ready to make every oyster count? Find out more about our productivity-boosting oyster graders and equipment. Contact the team at SED Graders today.


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