Innovation in the Soil Prep Lab

Innovation in the Soil Prep Lab

Date: 7 Nov 2018
Author: Hill Laboratories

This year the agricultural soil lab undertook a project to improve processes in our soil-sample preparation area, with dual goals of operational efficiency and staff safety (from dust inhalation).  Many of our customers might wonder how the lab gets from the “as received” core samples to the dried and sieved (<2mm) soil fraction used for the Basic Soil tests. The field-moist samples are passed through a coarse sieve, dried overnight at ~ 36degC then further passed through a 2mm sieve – this process is quite onerous and time-consuming when dealing with hundreds of samples a day so mechanisation is definitely needed.

Our creative technologists talked to some helpful machine engineers and set about trying a few prototypes before landing on the system as pictured. The apparatus can process both the field-moist soil coarse sieving as well as the dry soil <2mm sieving by a simple interchange of the cone-sieves.

The static photos below don’t show the whole story but staff feedback is that this new design with full dust removal function and its automated sample-handling make this dirty job a whole lot easier.

Check out this video to see it in action.