Belgian fish processor Gabriel has already installed the Ishida CCW-NZ-106B-S/15-WP Fresh Food Weigher (FFW) for the weighing and packing of a marinated shellfish and vegetable mix, and believes that the new concept will improve accuracy and increase throughput.
The shellfish and vegetable mix, comprising five different products, is one of Gabriel's best selling lines but the very different characteristics of the five ingredients - plus a low target weight of just 170g for one of the pack sizes - meant there is a danger of the products separating during an automatic handling and weighing process, leading to inconsistent product quality.
Instead of product being distributed to the weigh hoppers via vibratory feeders, an operator directs the mix along a set of linear belt feeders. The operator should ensure that all six belt feeders receive a fair share of product.
The FFW is specifically designed to handle sticky fresh products such as marinated fish and vegetables, and also meat, poultry or fresh pasta. It features specially developed stainless steel or plastic hoppers with anti-stick scraper gates designed to ensure a smooth, reliable and consistent product flow through the weigher.
A waterproof construction allows easy cleaning of all contact surfaces.
Using Ishida's multihead weighing technology, the computer selects the combination of hoppers that most closely matches the target weight. A set of booster hoppers under the weigh hoppers holds product not initially selected by the computer.
This frees up the weigh hoppers to accept more product and thus generate additional weight combinations, which further increases speed and accuracy.
The FFW is positioned above a Multivac thermoforming machine and the seafood and vegetable mix is packed into trays in 200g, 500g and 1 kg sizes, presented three at a time for the smaller packs and in twos for the 1kg tray. A special 'multiple point discharge' distribution system under the weigher transfers product safely into the trays.
The Ishida FFW operates at eight Multivac cycles per minute - with two or three trays per cycle - with accuracy to within 1 per cent of target weight. This compares with Gabriel's previous operation of five to six Multivac cycles per minute and an average product giveaway of 5g per pack.
In addition, the Ishida weigher only requires one operator, whereas before Gabriel required two operators to fill the product into the trays.
The installation at Gabriel was carried out by Ishida's agent in Belgium, BRN Packaging Engineering, who also supplied a lift to elevate the one ton bin of product mix in readiness for weighing, weigher stand and distribution system along with a central control unit.