Ishida Europe, one of the world's leading suppliers of complete weighing and packing line solutions, has launched its Fresh Food weigher series - said to be the first of its kind to automise weighing for sticky produce.
The weighers utilise the combination weighing principle, long the exclusive domain of dry and frozen foods, but apply it to sticky products which could, until recently, be weighed and packed only manually. The new FF range is said to increases weighing accuracy and speed while reducing both product giveaway and waste. Payback periods are shown to be as low as just three months.
Ishida claims that the Fresh Food Weighers are an innovation, as traditionally, the sticking of meat, poultry and fish to contact parts prevented their handling by automated weighers. The prevalence of manual weighing and packing in these applications meant that both labour costs and product giveaway were high.
Linear belt feeders and special non-stick hoppers with scraper gates have been developed to avoid the product sticking and ensure a smooth, reliable and consistent product flow through the weigher. The computer selects the combination of hoppers which most closely matches the target weight: these hoppers then release their contents into a bag, tray, or jar. Booster hoppers enable greater accuracy and operating speeds of up to 70 weighments per minute.The Fresh Food Weighers can handle products which had previously required up to five operators, but operate with significantly higher accuracy and consistency. In most applications, they achieve a product giveaway of only 0.5g or less than 1 per cent of the target weight. Automatic product feed can be supplied to further reduce the number of operators required.
Neil Giles, Ishida Europe's Marketing Manager, commented: "Ishida has worked in partnership with customers to understand their requirements and develop a product that can deliver genuine performance that's essential in today's market. Smaller production runs and fast and frequent product changeovers are the norm, so we've made this weigher rangeeasy to operate and clean to minimise downtime. Operating with high accuracy, speed and consistency, processors and packers throughout the industry stand to gain real commercial benefits from this innovation."
Ishida Europe is a world leader in the design, manufacture and installation of complete weighing and packing line solutions for the food industry. It develops advanced automated systems for weighing, packing, labelling and handling food products. Headquartered in Birmingham, UK, supported by four additional offices in mainland Europe, one in the UAE and one in South Africa, Ishida Europe's 2002 sales reached £41 million (€56.6m) in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Ishida Europe is a subsidiary of Ishida in Japan.