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'Packing speeds doubled'

03 February 2010

Buerger GmbH has more than doubled packing speeds at its southern Germany site, where it manufactures traditional soups, after the installation of a 16-head Ishida RS-Series multihead weigher

Capable of mix-weighing up to four separate ingredients, the R-Series has also enabled the company to achieve product consistency through improved accuracy of mixing.

Buerger is said to be renowned for its range of Maultaschen, pasta pockets filled with meat, vegetable and herb mixes, which has for several years been one of its signature products. The company also produces a range of regional dishes, Italian meals and international specialities.

The soups produced at its Crailsheim site feature various relatively costly ingredients including smaller versions of Maultaschen made especially for soups, flour dumplings, butter dumplings, meat balls, cream cheese-balls and semolina balls.

When Buerger originally launched the soups, packs were being filled at the rate of 18 trays per minute; this was considered to be an acceptable speed, given the company's concern for quality control, which ensured the manual weighing and mixing involved were carried out with 'great attention to detail'.

However, thanks to its long-standing relationship with Ishida, Buerger saw the opportunity to automate the mix-weighing (using a multihead weigher) as a way to increase consistency, minimise product giveaway and so further guarantee consumer satisfaction, while simultaneously increasing speed to help meet growing demand. These were the key factors behind its choice of Ishida's RS-Series multihead weigher.

The RS is Ishida's 'state-of-the-art' mid-range series, which it claims outperforms most competitor models owing to what it describes as its advanced combination calculation software that brings significant advantages in speed and accuracy.

The RS further eases the operator's task by the incorporation of a self-adjusting vibration system, practically eliminating the need for manual intervention. An integrated load cell at the start of the distribution system monitors the weight of product at the dispersion table and adjusts the output of the feed system to ensure smooth and consistent operation.

Buerger's new weigher combines highly accurate weighments of each of three or four frozen ingredients, depending on the product, to give exactly the required mix, then discharges them into thermoformed trays with target weights of 250, 300 or 400g.

At 48 trays per minute, the speed is more than two-and-a-half times that of the manual weighing process. As a result, the line can now easily cope with demand within the factory's normal two-shift routine, and expensive weekend working can be avoided entirely.

The change to automatic mix-weighing means one person can run this part of the operation and, thanks to an informative, easy-to-use graphic interface, that single operator achieves a much higher degree of overall control.

The Ishida RS multihead enables Buerger to meet the demand for its soups and a further advantage is it can also function efficiently as a single-ingredient weigher. In this role, it supplements the company's other Ishida equipment in handling products such as freshly cooked tortellini, which is a relatively sticky product.

"The weigher improves our flexibility, as we can use it for two applications that are, at first sight, irreconcilable," says Klaus Malcharek, technical director at Crailsheim.

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