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No half measures! Ensuring optimum efficiency for the confectionery industry

07 September 2020

Product quality, efficiency and safety in production are particularly important within the confectionery industry. With its weighing and inspection solutions, Minebea Intec provides the key components for efficient production and offers a complete overview of the entire production chain with supporting software, such as statistical process control. 

Leading confectionery manufacturers such as Sula – a producer of hard and soft candies –are confronted with a challenge due to the breadth of their product range which requires varied packaging solutions. 

In addition, nutritional and recycling trends are creating a need for new products and packaging solutions which means that, in addition to unconditional demands on product quality, a high degree of flexibility must be provided in order to keep pace with such developments. With a portfolio of weighing, inspection and software solutions, Minebea Intec offers a wide range of choices and rounds off its offer with a strong service offering. With its products, the company also ensures compliance with legal regulations, making an important contribution to critical control points in production. This offer convinced Sula, which now relies on production weighing and software solutions from Minebea Intec.

Ensuring smooth production 
From raw material to finished packaging – weighing solutions ensure smooth production. Static and dynamic weighing is the key to optimum production. Weighing processes are an integral part of confectionery production along the production line, beginning with the reception and intermediate storage of the raw materials, where Minebea Intec ensures the correct delivery quantities with truck scales, flat-bed scales and silo load cells and tailor-made solutions if required. Nick Parsons, Deputy CSO at Minebea Intec, underlines the advantages: "Our Inteco digital load cell in combination with the Connexx converter is a good example of the unstoppable digitalisation in weighing processes. Customers benefit from fast signaling times and optimum transparency when dosing and weighing ingredients and mixtures. In the event of faulty measurement results, a defective load cell can be identified immediately".

For the subsequent process steps in the production of confectionery, reliable weighing equipment with static and dynamic weighing systems are essential to ensure consistent product quality. For example, Combics legal-for-trade industrial scales or Midrics series bench and floor scales support processes in spice and flavouring departments. Minebea Intec also offers Engineered-to-order solutions. Sula uses the Synus dynamic checkweigher for reliable measurement results even at high process speeds and it also ensure that packages are ejected outside the legally prescribed tolerance. In addition, the checkweighers can regulate upstream filling systems via the integrated tendency control, should overfilling or underfilling of the packages become apparent. 

The Synus checkweighers were developed in accordance with hygienic design guidelines to simplify cleaning processes. As a result, less time and detergent is required for cleaning, which in turn reduces the amount of cleaning required. Their technology, menu navigation and design are geared towards simple and flexible changes in the production line. A changeover to new or seasonal confectionery products can be implemented effortlessly. "The dynamic checkweighers from Minebea Intec have been an integral part of our confectionery production for around 30 years. Their reliable technology and ease of operation are the cornerstones of our system," said Franz-Josef Laumann, Sulá GmbH plant management.

Increased productivity
Minebea Intec software – in the form of the ProRecipe XT– offers an intuitive recipe management system for all manual and semi-automatic recipe processes, guaranteeing controlled production reliability. 

The Minebea Intec software SPC@Enterprise – which is also used by Sula – helps with compliance with legal regulations. All devices are connected to SPC@Enterprise and are monitored by it. The data flows into the cloud and ensures complete traceability. At the same time, Sula reviews the data to evaluate and improve performance. The digital portfolio is supported by solutions such as the service tool miRemote; based on augmented reality technology, it enables an immediate online connection between the customer and Minebea Intec, avoiding waiting times and unnecessary production downtimes. Smaller problems can often be solved with little support as if the service technician himself were live on site. 

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