The machines are filling clear plastic bags to target weights from 150g to 600g. The lower weights are popular in the Scandinavian market while the larger packs are used in catering. 450g bags are filled at up to 40 per minute.
On entering the packing line, the product passes through an 18-metre tunnel where moisture can be reduced by air-drying. Just before the weighers, sets of sprinklers are located which can be used to add moisture.
“At one point we tried using a cheaper weigher from Asia that did not have this material, and we had to have an operator permanently watching the machine and moving the spinach along by hand. This just wasn’t feasible,” said Jacob Broersen of Broersen.
The moisture content of spinach varies greatly from batch to batch. Over-moist leaves tend to clump together as they fall from weigher to bagmaker. If it isn’t addressed, it can lead to the product becoming trapped in the bag seal.
If the spinach becomes too dry it falls too slowly, so it is difficult to attain the desired packing speeds.