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Gentle weighing solution for fragile pasties

09 April 2017

A ‘gentle slope’ multihead weigher from Ishida Europe has enabled Spanish manufacturer Congalsa to enter a new market, with the introduction of tuna pasties. 

Congalsa is an established manufacturer of pre-cooked, frozen seafood dishes. When it decided to enter the market for tuna pasties –  which are popular in Iberian cuisine – it was necessary to identify an economical packing process for the fragile pasties. 

Any damage to the corners of the frozen pasties structurally weakens them, making them liable to leak their contents during the frying process. To overcome this, pasties have, traditionally, been manually packed into moulded plastic trays, which are then placed in boxes.  

Congalsa’s strategy was to deliver an authentic, home-made taste and a higher percentage of tuna than any of the existing products. Achieving this commercially involved adopting a different packing concept: using the speed, hygiene and labour-saving potential of multihead weighing to bag the pasties before boxing.

However, multihead weighing had one disadvantage – a significant breakage rate, taking place largely in the weigher or at the weigher/bagmaker interface. The extent of such damage could only be evaluated by inspecting the already sealed bags and removing the broken pasties by hand.

The solution, supplied through CIMA, Ishida’s distributor in Spain, was a Gentle Slope Ishida model. The 14-head weigher is configured so that radial feeder angles are shallower than usual. Drop distances between feeders and pool hoppers and between pool hoppers and weigh hoppers are kept to a minimum. A ring shutter halves the distance that the product must fall from weigh hoppers to bagmaker.  The weigher also has the ability to make many more combination calculations per second (which enhances speed and accuracy) and a self-tuning vibratory system. 

The many damage-reducing features of the Ishida weigher and the Congalsa production team’s work in integrating it into the line have enabled high packaging speeds to be achieved.  It is a step that will enable Congalsa to maintain its production capacity at optimum level.

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