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'Four products on two packing lines'

03 August 2010

Rapunzel Naturkost has invested in two Ishida RS multihead weighers for the weighing and packing of four diverse products, including muesli, dried fruit and cashew nuts

It includes a range of gourmet, ready-to-eat dishes containing rice, vegetables and spices.

Rapunzel, based in Legau, Germany, is a pioneer of the organic food sector and has more than 400 different products in its range. Owing to an expanding business and aging equipment the need to modernise the packing lines became essential.

The solution from Ishida Europe’s German operation has enabled just two packing lines, each featuring an Ishida RS weigher, to handle the four products.

A 10-head model fills large (1kg and 2kg) consumer bags of muesli as well as the dried fruit and nuts in packs ranging from 50 to 500g, while a 16-head weigher accurately mix-weighs the new 250g rice dishes and can rapidly switch to single-product mode to handle smaller packs of muesli (from 375 to 750g).

While all products are filled into see-through bags which after sealing are placed into an outer carton with a cut-out display, the weighing applications are very different. For the pre-prepared dishes, the proportions of rice, vegetables and spices have to be accurate and consistent. The target weight for the spice element, for example, is only 10g. The 16-head Ishida provides the accuracy needed, as well as a speed of 40ppm (packs per minute).

The smaller muesli products are mixed prior to packing and the Ishida multihead again, it is said, provides excellent accuracy, reducing giveaway by 5% compared to Rapunzel’s previous packaging line, and a speed considerably greater than the downstream secondary packaging steps can match.

The 10-head Ishida weigher uses large 3-litre hoppers to fill high-quality, pre-formed, edge-reinforced bags with different types of pre-mixed muesli to target weights of 1kg and 2kg, reaching speeds of up to 15ppm.

The dried fruit and cashew nuts are packed into plastic bags of 50, 100, 200, 250 and 500g target weights, at speeds of up to 50ppm, much lower than the potential speed of the RS, which is again limited by downstream activities.

The accuracy of the RS-Series machines, which stems from Ishida’s latest combination calculation technology, has also reduced giveaway by 5% for these two product ranges. According to Hans Weiß, Rapunzel’s technical manager, weighing organic foods throws up some specific problems relating to the nature of the products.

“They’re organic, and as such often irregularly shaped, moist or very sticky,” he says. “Ishida weighers can reliably cope with such products in a cost-effective way.

“Now, we can pack our mueslis at a higher speed, and we can rely on an effective packing solution for our rice-based ready meal as well,” says Weiß. “In addition, we have spare capacity at hand for packing our dried fruit.”

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