Dominik Stadler, Product Manger Optical Sorting, Roeber, a Petkus Company, talks about the company's optical sorting equipment during the CSS & Seed Expo 2019. (John Reidy photos)

Chicago, IL (December 19, 2019) - The Equipment Innovations Tour of the Seed Expo Dec. 12 provided companies an opportunity to share the latest changes to make seed treatment processes more efficient.

The tour was part of the American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) CSS & Seed Expo 2019 in Chicago, IL.

For photos and videos from throughout the conference, follow Seed Today on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Andy Heideman

USC, LLC has been making seed treaters since the early 2000’s, says Andy Heideman, corporate account director.

As changes are made to the equipment, Heideman says the company listens to what its customers need in an effort to simplify the user experience, which can lead to more efficient operating practices in seed treatment.

“We listen to the industry needs and market conditions,” he says.

Some of the changes include displaying live data on the screen of the treater as it is being operated, Heideman points out.

The U-Treat Lite is a new automation platform from USC featuring a first-of-its-kind graphical user interface (GUI). Heideman says existing automation control platforms rely on text focused, database style layouts that can be cumbersome to use, difficult to understand, and time consuming to learn.

He says it’s critical for seed equipment manufacturers to change the way they think about software development by focusing more on the user experience and worry less about unneeded data entry points.

Prairie Engineering: A Premier Tech Company

Jon Moreland

Prairie Engineering, a Premier Tech Company, has partnered with PETKUS to introduce optical sorting equipment capable of seeing beyond the surface of the seed, says Jon Moreland, managing director, PETKUS.

For example, Moreland says paddy rice can look the same on the outside but being able to pass light through it enables someone to tell whether the seed is good or bad, and separate based on what is then seen.

The optical technology allows for a look beyond the surface of the seed and begins to identify contaminants below the obvious issues.

Moreland notes that although the idea is not entirely new, the optical features of this machine are exclusive beyond other competitors. He says the technology includes an entirely new optical array for ear corn sorting that is like a CAT scan for humans, giving a 360 degree view of the object.

“Now we are pushing the depth of what optical sorting can provide to the seed industry,” Moreland says. “With increased focus on seed quality and diminishing margins in the market, new technologies can be leveraged to meet these demands.”

He adds the equipment has been designed to simplify the controls for the operator.

Bratney Companies

Darin Stutler

The Cimbria Chromex Optical Sorter introduces new features to help achieve specific capacity requirements, says Darin Stutler, Cimbria product manager for Bratney Companies.

“This enable intuitive and fast programming and machine adjustment,” Stutler says.

The equipment features new cameras with .06 mm to achieve great optical resolution and diversity in color and shade, Stutler says.

The Chromex is available with one to seven chutes to meet and maintain any production capacity requirement. In addition, Stutler says the Chromex has remote connectivity capabilities.

Stutler adds the sorters’ lighting system allows for precise focusing of the beam on the area viewed by the camera to ensure exact sorting.

Neutec Group

Brady Carter

Neutec’s multi-spectral imaging system utilizes statistical analysis with imaging to be able to instantaneously differentiate between seeds varying for physical and chemical traits, says Dr. Brady Carter, senior application scientist.

Carter explains the system includes a high-resolution camera that takes a series of images at wavelength bands ranging from ultraviolet to near infrared light.

Because a unique image is taken at each wavelength band, the images can be viewed individually or in combination, he says. The multi-spectral imaging, he says, can identify foreign objects by finding non-conforming sizes and shapes.

In addition, Neutec provides a flow cytometry single cell analyzer called the Ampha -Z32.

The technology is designed to look for pollen variability before it is applied, Carter says. He points out distributing non-viable pollen is simply waste.

The system can eliminate cumbersome and time-consuming traditional viability methods, Carter says.

The information can be used to distribute pollen that is known to be viable, he adds.

The results are higher yields and higher quality seed, Carter notes.

Donaldson Torit

Andy Winkler

The Donaldson Torit connected filtration subscription service is part of a dust collection monitoring system that solves several problems, says Andy Winkler, St. Louis region district manager.

A continuing problem for operators has been the need to consistently check to make sure the system is not plugged up, Winkler says.

The new solution includes a remote monitoring capability. The information is reported back to seed processing facility management teams to share if any problems are occurring.

“A lot goes into dust collecting,” Winkler says. “The information is designed to prompt timely maintenance that can help improve production uptime and reduce operating costs.”

Winkler adds the information can be tailored to the facility’s specific applications and dust management needs. The service is compatible with major dust and fume collector brands, he says.

Winkler says preventing dust build-up is an important safety measure in seed and grain operations, along with helping to reduce unexpected downtime.


Kent Lovvorn

Data can be used to tie together the operation of every department within a company, VMek General Manager Kent Lovvorn says.

Lovvorn explains how properly acquired data can unlock insight across various operations of seed production.

The insight includes value to pay a farmer based on quality and potential yield; determining a processing path; monitoring and tuning processing machines; automating quality checks and production documentation.

Lovvorn says VMek provides both the machines to collect the data and the software to empower meaningful business logic. He demonstrated how equipment can be set up to collect data and understand what is happening in the seed sorting process.

Lovvorn adds meaningful seed samples can be collected at every transition throughout the process, which results in long term quality.


Jason Kaeb

Seed treatment automation leads to accuracy and accountability, says Jason Kaeb, KSi director of business development.

KSi’s seed treatment system is focused on accuracy and transparency so answers to questions can be provided to seed sellers, growers, and corporate stakeholders.

The system is designed to provide more information about what is on the seed for users up and down the supply chain, Kaeb says.

Precise measurements are needed when applying a seed treatment, Kaeb adds. Operators can control the process to ensure the precise measurements are applied.

“It’s super important to get that right,” Kaeb says. “More accurate application promotes better stewardship within the downstream market.”

In addition, Kaeb says record-keeping tools verify application accuracy and inaccuracy for more operator accountability.

Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor

Other Seed Today articles from throughout the week include:

Seed Treatment Educational Tour Returns As Part Of ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/18

ASTA Debuts Ag Tech Innovations Showcase During CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/17

New Breeding Technologies Detailed As ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 Wraps Up 12/12

Hemp Seed Opportunities and Challenges Discussed During CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/11

Seed Company Leaders Discuss Thriving Amongst the Giants During ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/10

ASTA Announces Winner of Third Annual “Better Seed, Better Life” Student Video Contest 12/10

ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 Starts With Presentations Including "Field Applications in Digital Agriculture" 12/09