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The South Australian Potato Company founded by the Raschella family in Mount Barker more than 20 years ago, grows, packs and markets over 60,000 tons of fresh potatoes for consumption each year.

The Kestrel potato, with smooth white skin and unique purple spots, is exclusive to the company.

Driving down costs and improving efficiencies is a big driver in the business, according to the company’s maintenance manager Jay Dawson, and an important element of this involves minimising air leaks at the plant.

This project saw a big focus on energy saving, and a mandate to minimise air leaks to help save on money and energy, according to Dawson.

“In conducting an air leak audit, the maintenance team at The South Australian Potato Company tested the cubic feet of air used and wasted.”

“When using a sonic tester to find and measure the leaks, we realised that leaks were costing the company about $95 of energy per normal operating day,” Dawson said.

Based on these findings, the company sought the help of global pneumatics expert SMC, which supplied a range of products including air cylinders and solenoid valves as well as more advanced energy saving products such as digital pressure switches, which form part of the process control systems.

“Thanks to the upgrades and replacement of components, The South Australian Potato Company saw a major improvement on leaks. This translates to a saving of approximately $24,000 per annum,” Dawson said.

South Australian SMC area sales manager Saul Weste said the company seeks to provide advice to customers on best practice when replacing old parts or starting out on new projects.

“We strive to work closely with our customers to help them realise savings and achieve a competitive advantage. The South Australian Potato Company is a valued customer and we have worked hard to ensure that they truly experience the benefits of partnering with SMC.”

SMC potato