Significant cuts in average giveaway and the ability to handle high value products at faster speeds are benefits claimed for a German nut processor after switching from volumetric methods to multihead weighers.
Felix GmbH & Co said it has cut average giveaway on its can lines by 80 per cent from 2g to 0.4g per 200g can of nuts following the introduction of the equipment from Ishida.
The Dusseldorf-based firm is part of The Nut Company (TNC). Its products include peanuts, cashews, almonds and macadamia nuts that are sold in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia, and the Felix brand in Eastern European markets.
Increased accuracy of weighing is particularly important in the case of higher-value products such as cashews. In addition, multihead weighing is especially efficient when the piece weight is larger, as is the case with for example cashews and macadamias, said Ishida.
The company installed two weighers at Felix’s Schwerte plant in a paired parallel configuration on its nut packing line. Product can be fed to one or both weighers, and each machine can double-discharge - function as two separate weighers, discharging accurate measures into two cans simultaneously for added speed. The two streams of filled cans, one from each weigher, then converge for sealing under modified atmosphere, followed by coding, Ishida’s Torsten Giese told FoodProductionDaily.com.
He added that the Ishida adapted its established weighers to include a ‘paired hopper’ design. While each has 12 weighing heads and 12 pool hoppers, each pool hopper actually feeds two weigh-hoppers, making 24 in all. These weighers, with their compact 0.8 litre hoppers, are suited for the relatively small target weights involved.
High speed, smaller footprint
“The speed and accuracy achieved is therefore what might be expected of a much bigger multihead,” said Giese. “Felix is able to run each machine at 120 weighs per minute.”
Another advantage is that the equipment has a 15 per cent smaller footprint compared to similar machines, he said. “This is one of the first applications for weighing high-value products at high speeds and has been developed in response to demands from our customers.”
The weighers, which are manufactured in Japan, cost around £100,000 each. Ishida said that as well as giving customers a “competitive advantage”, they also had a quick payback time. Felix initially estimated its return on investment would be two years although it has since revised that forecast downwards.
“The investment is paying off very quickly, as we are saving a lot of money by weighing the product more accurately and reducing giveaway,” said Helmut Brangenberg, technical head at Felix.