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Weighing accuracy helps reduce giveaway

08 April 2019

A cereal manufacturer required pinpoint weighing accuracy to ensure consistency across its range of granola, muesli, flakes and directly expanded products. 

Over 100 tons of cereal products are produced daily at Sante’s factory near Warsaw in Poland.  The company currently has 20 Ishida multihead weighers, the most recent of which includes two 16-head booster hopper models in a three mix configuration, capable of handling up to three products separately for discharge into the same pack.

The introduction of multihead weighing technology, supplied by Ishida, to replace previously used linear systems provided a number of benefits. Accuracy improved, with giveaway reduced from around 1g per pack to within 0.1g. At the same time, the multihead weighing process ensured that the different ingredients in each product were more effectively mixed together, whereas the linear method caused the ingredients to lie in individual layers within the pack.

Commenting on the solution, Pawel Kander, technical director at Sante, said, “The accuracy of the mix weighers means that recipe consistency is achieved for every different product type. Ensuring our customers get exactly what they expect in every single pack is an essential part of our success and a high level of consistency minimises the risk of customer complaints.”

The weight accuracy has also enabled Sante to better control its costs through the removal of giveaway on the more expensive ingredients, such as dried fruits and chocolate.

One of the most interesting features of the Ishida weighers for Sante has proven to be the special design of the radial feeders that handle the chocolate products. The company had found that a normal feeder design caused chocolate pieces to build up, resulting in too-large amounts being despatched into the pool and weigh hoppers.  Ishida engineers were able to devise a special V-shaped design to give greater control of the feeding process. In addition, embossed surfaces and Teflon coating for the weighers’ contact parts help keep the chocolate and other slightly sticky ingredients moving throughout the weighing process.

The Ishida weighers are handling a variety of target weights from 50g up to 1kg.  Individual weighments are then combined and despatched via a timing hopper into a variety of pack formats including sachets, block bottom bags, doy and pillow packs.   Speeds are around 55 – 65 packs per minute across all formats because, although the weighers can operate more quickly, speeds are governed by the bag makers.  

Speeding up changeovers
While Sante’s production lines are dedicated to individual products for long runs, changeovers can now be carried out quickly, with settings stored and called up on each weigher’s remote control unit. The weighers can also be easily dismantled for cleaning, with wash stations located close by.  

The Sante factory also features Ishida checkweighers combined with Ceia metal detectors on each of its production lines, the latest of which are Ishida DACS-W-030 models. The new checkweighers have been set up to achieve the desired accuracy while the use of short infeed conveyors minimises the floor space. As well as accurate monitoring, the checkweighers feature Ishida’s IDCS (Ishida Data Capture System), a software tool designed to capture the data from every pack that passes across the checkweigher to generate real-time displays, and reports which can be used as compliance data.

Currently, IDCS provides a valuable additional quality control function, allowing Sante to confirm to its customers that any sub-standard packs were removed from the packing process. In the future, Sante intends to implement more features of the IDCS software, including production screens, which will enable it to carry out additional monitoring to help improve overall efficiencies.

In conclusion, Pawel Kander said: “The accuracy and efficiency of the Ishida weighing machines are helping to deliver fast payback – as little as one year on some lines”.

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