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Gently does it for the efficient weighing of wafer biscuits

08 May 2015

Packing line solutions specialist Ishida Europe is demonstrating its experience in handling extremely fragile food products with the installation of a special ‘Gentle Slope’ CCW multihead weigher at one of the Balkans largest confectionery companies.

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Established in 1882, Evropa based in Macedonia is one of the region’s most recognisable food brands, employing over 500 people. The company produces chocolate products such as biscuits, wafers and candies with over 10,000 tonnes per year going through the factory. 

Evropa was seeking an automated solution for the packing of its wafer and biscuit brands, Jadran and Berta, which would reduce the high costs, slow speeds and excessive giveaway of the existing manual operation while at the same time avoiding chipping or breakage of the products.

The process of hand weighing and sealing in bags had been extremely labour intensive, involving 30 personnel to pack around 27 bags per minute.  Now with the installation of the Ishida CCW-RS Gentle Slope multihead weigher, linked to an Ilapak bagmaker, the company is achieving 30 bags per minute with just five people.  Equally important, giveaway has been reduced from 5% to 0.7%.  As a result, payback on the machine was achieved within one and a half years.  The improvement in pack quality also enabled the Evropa to export its products throughout the EU, meeting the high standards of retailers.

The Ishida Gentle Slope design has a number of important characteristics that are critical for the delicate task of packing fragile food products. Key features are specially-designed hoppers and a ring shutter, which is placed between the weigh hoppers and the timing hopper.  

The reduced angles of the hoppers enable the products to slide rather than fall through the weigher into the bagmaker.  Once the combination of weighed product leaves the weigh hoppers, it reaches the Ring Shutter which is coated in a special absorbent Bancolan material. The Ring Shutter holds the product before discharging into the timing hopper, which then places it into the bagmaker.  By slowing down the speed of each weighment as it passes through the weigher, breakages are significantly reduced.

The installation was carried out by Ishida’s agent for the Balkans, CD System, which supervised the entire project and provides ongoing support for Evropa in terms of service and training.  In addition, CD System devised a further gentle handling solution to the installation by placing the bagmaker at an angle underneath the weigher. In this way, product also slides rather than falls into the bagmaker.

The Ishida weigher has the flexibility to handle different pack weights of 125g, 150g and 200g with changeovers carried out by the touch of a button on the Remote Control Unit (RCU).  As a result, the only machine adjustment required is to the forming shoulder on the bagmaker, allowing changeovers to take place in just ten minutes.

This latest installation continues the excellent working relationship between Evropa, Ishida and CD System, which dates back to the installation in 2004 of an Ishida CCW-EM weigher for hard candies, toffees and caramels and which is handling pack sizes from 100g to 1000g at speeds of up to 50 weighments per minute.  Both this weigher and the new model are working 16 hours each day.

Evropa cites reliability, accuracy, speed and the ability to handle fragile products as the major benefits of its Ishida weighers. As a result, the company says it is likely that Ishida will continue to play a part in the company’s investment strategy in the future. 

“If we plan a new project then we will certainly invest in Ishida for our equipment,” says Evropa chief of maintenance Ninoslav Milosevic.

CD System is based in Serbia and has been Ishida’s partner in the region for more than 10 years.  The company uses its vast experience to devise complete line solutions for the automation of production and packaging processes in the food industry.

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