Gartenfrisch, which uses its own locally-grown vegetables when in season, as well as ingredients from Southern Europe and North Africa, was keen to find ways to increase yield and so organised a trial to compare the new Ishida 14-head weigher with a 14-head Ishida RZ machine which, 10 years ago, was said to be one of the fastest machines on the market. The machines were run on the same day, under identical conditions, and using the same salad mix. "Less giveaway means more profit" The average weight variation on the new machine, which has been on the market for less than a year, was said to be "much smaller" and of a level that was previously thought to be unachievable for salad. The company reported that over-fill or "giveaway" was reduced by around 2.5 per cent, so that for every 40 packs of salad produced, one extra pack of salad from the same amount of washed and prepared material was produced. Gartenfrisch production manager Juergen Schwarz said: "For us, less giveaway means more profit." More weighing combinations The R-series weigher comes with new electronics and software, which increase the number of weight combinations available in each weighing cycle to 16,000, and multiplied by a factor of 80 to the calculating power of the CPU (central processing unit). This advance was said to be an underlying reason for the increased accuracy, as well as increased speed. Clinging leaves One typical problem that salad producers face is that the salad leaves have a high degree of elasticity. This means they can absorb high levels of vibration, and cling to metal surfaces. To counter this, Ishida's new weigher comes with pulse width modulation technology, which allows vibration levels to be varied. In addition, it has steep-sloping feeder troughs, and contact surfaces that are anti-stick. Although the company said speed was limited by the speed of the bagmaking machine (60 wpm) and end-of-line pack handling, it still managed to bring about a 10 per cent increase in speed.