SATEC Dust Monitor

The logical response to the challenge of “dust-free seed”

This dust monitor uses photometric technology to analyse dust levels in seed samples continuously drawn from production and sampled immediately upstream of the bagging line. The appliance

  • delivers results which correlate very well with the Heubach values
  • runs automatically “in the background”, using the automatic sampler during seed treatment
  • records the measurement results
  • allows intervention in the control system of the coating machine (e.g. shutdown if maximum limits are exceeded)
  • is able to show even extremely low dust concentrations per kg seed, since the sensitivity of the system can be modified by various adjustable parameters, thus allowing the operator to enter a freely selectable trigger value
  • shows the course of production quality over time, since it generates not only one average value per batch but several partial measurements (the number is freely selectable), stating the exact time in each case
  • can be adapted to virtually any make or brand of coating equipment, thus allowing the measured dust level to be integrated into the data records of the coating machine
  • integrates anywhere in the production system – e.g. for grain seeds it can be installed upstream of the coating machine to determine dust levels before the coating is applied
  • has been approved by the Julius Kühn Institute (the Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants).
  • You can download the JKI-Report HERE

Samples are taken continuously by an automatic sampler and collected initially in the storage hopper of the SATEC Dust Monitor.

Satec Dust Monitor

As soon as a specified quantity (level sensor) has been collected inside the hopper, the sample is discharged down a pipe into the final sample collection container, from which the average sample is subsequently taken. The dust level of the falling seeds is measured photometrically, the measurements being recorded once per second and plotted immediately on a curve. In this way any number of measurement points are recorded and evaluated for each batch, and their maximum values are displayed. This ensures that seed quality is monitored over the whole time of production.

The SATEC Dust Monitor:

  • ensures maximum certainty already at the production stage
  • minimises the risk of faulty batches, and
  • eases the increased responsibility of the staff



Dust measurement with the SATEC Dust Monitor can naturally be carried out for purposes other than seed treatment, e.g. in the laboratory or for testing returns and overstock merchandise; it can be used for monitoring dust levels not only in any type of seed sample but also in a wide variety of bulk goods.

  • Data are stored on a USB stick and/or online in the formulation records of the coating equipment control system.
  • Monitoring parameters are shown directly on the equipment or on the coating machine display.
  • Any kind of acoustic or visual alarm unit can be connected.

Reasons behind the development of a measuring appliance for monitoring dust contamination on seeds

Directive 2010/21/EU of 12 March 2010 stipulates that, as from 1 November 2010, seed treatments containing clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and fipronil may be used only in seed treatment facilities which apply the best available techniques to ensure that the release of dust during seed treatment and right up to the time of sowing is kept to an absolute minimum.

At the present time, dust levels are quantified by means of the Heubach test. This test is prescribed by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) for maize seed treated with mesurol and used for quality control in rapeseed. The introduction of Heubach levels is also being considered for cereals.

The higher the seed rate, the lower the Heubach value must be in order to ensure that a specific dust level per hectare is not exceeded. The purpose of the limit values is to ensure that dust-off from seeds is so low that no environmental contamination can occur.

If dust contamination from the seed exceeds the limit value as defined by the Heubach value, the seed cannot be placed on the market.

Unfortunately, the results of the Heubach test are not available until at least two days after applying the treatment, which means that, during this time, there is no evidence that the seed is free of dust.

All necessary measures taken to achieve dust control present a considerable burden for seed producers in terms of both costs and human resources.
In addition, they place increasing responsibility on the staff, since even if no badly treated seed is placed on the market, the financial implications of producing a batch which fails to comply with the Heubach criterion would be enormous.

To minimise the risk of faulty coating, SATEC Handelsgesellschaft has been researching various options that will allow seed producers to read off the expected level of dust contamination during the seed treatment process itself.
After more than one year of development, we are now in a position to present a system which minimises the risk of faulty seed treatment, thus providing an excellent basis for obtaining a certification of the seed treatment facility: the SATEC Dust Monitor.

With the SATEC Dust Monitor it is possible already at the production stage to see in advance what the subsequent Heubach test (if required) will show:
– that the coated seed is virtually dust-free and can be placed on the market
A certification of the coating machines will doubtless be of very much greater value if this online dust measurement is available, since it will provide direct evidence not only that the technical and organisational conditions are fulfilled, but also that the dust level will not exceed the Heubach value.

The dust levels of cereal seeds immediately after threshing can vary greatly from one year to another, depending on weather conditions.

New dust is formed during transport of any kind (e.g. on the elevator).

Maximum freedom from dust for coated seed can be achieved only if the seed itself is as free as possible from dust immediately before the coating is applied.

To ensure that the seed meets these requirements, its “freedom from dust” is checked with the SATEC Dust Monitor – during the course of production. The values are stored, thus making it possible at all times to verify that only dust-free seed was coated.

All tests up to now have shown that dust-free seed remains dust-free after the coating has been applied.

SATEC Dust Monitor during the coating of cereals

  • Variations in the dust levels are detected and can be corrected before coating takes place.
  • Production processes are safeguarded.

Proof of quality can be retrieved at any time.