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'Greater accuracy for Denmark's best-selling liquorice'

09 November 2010

A 24-head Ishida multihead weigher is reducing product giveaway by as much as 10% to maximise the throughput of liquorice pastilles at the Toms Gruppen A/S factory in Hvidovre, near Copenhagen

Ga-Jol is Denmark’s top selling liquorice pastille, with the Danes consuming over 600 million each year. First produced in 1933, today the brand also includes various different flavours plus chewing gum, hard candy and mints.

Ga-Jols are packed into small 23g handy-sized cartons. Originally the pastilles were packed using volumetric fillers but in order to ensure the correct weight in each pack, it was necessary to overfill by as much as two to three grams per pack.

“This amount of giveaway can be very expensive over the course of a production run,” explains Kaja Thomsen, Production Manager at Toms Gruppen A/S, who co-ordinated the project. “By installing the Ishida, we are effectively packing an extra carton for every ten packs produced. Turning this giveaway into additional product throughput, means that it does not take long for the machine to pay for the investment.”

While the removal of product giveaway was vital, it was equally important that production line speeds were maintained. The Ishida is currently operating at 280 packs per minute, well within its speed potential and limited only by other parts of the packing line, something which Toms intends to tackle in the coming months in order to reach the targeted line speed in excess of 400 packs per minute.

The Ishida’s flexible layout allows the 24 weighing heads to be segregated into six sections of four heads each. The weigher therefore despatches six weighments at a time into a specially developed funnel system that packs the pastilles into the cartons. In addition, the weigh hoppers feature special anti-stick C4 material to ensure that the pastilles do not clump together and thus flow freely and quickly through the machine.

The unique funnel / depositing system, devised by Ishida, directs the six weighments into six cups presented under the weigher. The Ishida is linked to the packing system so that if for any reason less than six weighments are despatched from the weigher, only the equivalent number of cups is presented underneath.

Acting as a transfer device the cups are then taken to the filling station. The cartons are automatically assembled and the cups pass over them, gradually depositing the pastilles. After filling, the cartons are closed and glued, and transferred to a shrink wrapper before being placed into cardboard outers for onward despatch.

The Ishida weigher is a compact model with 1.5 litre weigh hoppers from the company’s latest R series range, which features unique and adapted technology that helps it to achieve efficiency levels close to 100% and further increases weighing accuracy by 0.5% per pack, compared with the previous best technology.

It was installed in conjunction with Ishida’s agent for multihead weighers in Denmark, TH Consult. The relationship with Toms Gruppen A/S goes back some 18 years and currently Toms has nine Ishida weighers and checkweighers installed throughout its factories in Denmark.

“We are delighted with the performance of the new Ishida weigher,” comments Niels Hansen, Production Supervisor at Toms Gruppen A/S. “It has already made a huge impact in terms of reduction in giveaway but we are equally excited at its potential to achieve even faster speeds as we continue to develop the packaging system.”

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