Rights: The University of Waikato Published 10 December 2008 Download

The ingredients for potato plates are mixed together by hand, and the manufacturing process is automated. What are the ingredients and the steps in the process?


Richard Williams (Potatopak - now re-branded as earthpac)

You’ve got to have three ingredients. So we order in potato starch – 12, 14, 15 tonnes in one tonne bags. The same with the cellulose – that'll come in 20 kilo bags. There’s a small amount of carnauba wax which is a food grade wax. Once we get all those into the factory, we have to weigh out each ingredient and then mix it all up, then we put it in great big bins. Each mix will be about 5 kilos. If there’s any more than that the mixer breaks down – there’s too heavy a load for it.

Then out of that bin we put it into a hopper, which then feeds each mould individually. It mixes the weight of 0.1 of a gram, so we know exactly what’s going in. We set the computer, and then the mould closes and cooks, and opens automatically. You can set the time – you can set everything – and the arm will go in and take it out. Then it’s stacked, sanded on the edges, until we make a wasteless mould . You know in the process of making a plate over the years, we have got faster and faster, but it’s still going to take another few years to make it totally idiot-proof and automated, and you won’t need anyone there.

Elliot Landes