One of the most exciting things about ISU’s Industrial Cybersecurity program is the tours our students get to take. Last week we visited the Driscoll fresh pack plant.
If you are wondering what “fresh pack” means, you might not be from Idaho — it means fresh potatoes!
According to the foreman who gave us the tour, laborers are hard to come by, and automation has helped make up the difference.
Potatoes arrive in trucks (from storage cellars) to be washed and polished. Sorters send the potatoes down alternate tracks to be boxed or bagged by size as a variety of marketing options for different brands.
Students get to see how the ideas of safety, power distribution, and motor control come together to make the plant run.
My favorite part? Probably the vision systems that identify “strange potatoes” and flick them onto alternate conveyor, where they end up as processed products (think dehydrated mash) rather than fresh products.