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Scalable solution for a growing product range

02 March 2020

Having a relationship with its suppliers is key for Belsia, as it needs scalable solutions that are able to grow with its ever expanding product range. 

Based in Beauce in Northern France, Belsia was established in 2015 when Matthieu and Clémence Maisons decided to devote 10 hectares of the family’s 160-hectare farm to growing the Lady Claire potato variety, as the main ingredient for a range of  high-end artisan potato chips. 
First marketed in 2016 to local supermarkets, the potato chips, which are hand produced using 100% natural ingredients – currently in in four varieties – quickly became a success. In 2016 the company processed 50 tons of potatoes and by 2019 this had risen to 500 tons.

Originally the company relied on a second-hand packing equipment to process around 400kg of potatoes per day. However, as product quantities increased the company needed to find a better solution. 

First contact between Matthieu Maisons and Ishida was made at an exhibition in Paris. 

Stéphane Woigt, regional sales manager at Ishida, takes up the story: “When Belsia first approached us, the company was not yet producing a significant enough volume to warrant the purchase of new equipment. However, we remained in regular contact, providing advice and establishing and maintaining a relationship of trust so that, when ready, Matthieu Maisons turned to Ishida to invest in a new potato chip packing line."
In 2018, after an assessment of three manufacturers, Belsia chose Ishida to devise a complete turnkey line with a small footprint, with Ishida assuming full responsibility for the entire installation and its performance.

During the 1990s, Ishida devised an integrated snacks packing solution, featuring a weigher mounted directly over a VFFS bagmaker to deliver valuable space savings.   The multihead and bagmaker work together to deliver the highest speeds, efficiency and pack quality, without compromising accuracy.   

At Belsia, the line in place today comprises a 10-head Ishida CCW-SE series multihead weigher with polished stainless-steel hoppers and an Astro bagmaker equipped with stripping plates which clear the seal area before sealing to ensure pack quality and close to zero film waste. In addition, Ishida has supplied a bucket elevator that feeds the potato chips to the weigher and a throat metal detector, positioned between the weigher and the bagmaker, to identify and reject any metal contamination before the potato chips are bagged. Belsia is packing both 150g and 40g bags on its Astro bagmaker.  

The Ishida installation, which is operating at 30 packs per minute for the 150g bag format, has enabled Belsia to increase production to 800kg per day of processed potatoes. Features include minimal downtime for product changeovers with an accuracy to within 1g of the target weight, ensuring overfills are avoided. All these benefits combine to provide substantial savings for the company and a short investment payback

Equally important, the line is scalable and will therefore be able to support Belsia’s ongoing development of its potato chip range to deliver “a new flavour each year”, according to Clémence Maisons. 

Matthieu Maisons has the last word: "In addition to the reliability and speed of the line, we also appreciate its ease of use thanks to the intuitive touchscreens. Changing the bagmaker film reel takes only a few minutes and daily cleaning is easy. In our business where a production stoppage can very quickly cause problems, we are able to work with confidence because we know we can rely not only the Ishida equipment but also on Ishida’s fast-response after-sales service."

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