Ishida Weigher meets fruit and vegetable challenge

Published November 17th, 2009 - 12:35 GMT

An Ishida Fresh Food Weigher (FFW) is delivering the ideal solution for the packing into trays of two diverse products for the retail market – grated beetroot and half and quarter pears – at Hot Cuisine, a Belgian specialist supplier of freshly prepared meals, soups and meal components.

The FFW is part of a specially devised packing line designed and installed by Ishida’s agent in Belgium BRN.  In addition to the FFW, the line comprises a tray denester, chain-and-peg conveyor, infeed elevator, and mobile weigher gantry.

The grated beetroot was previously packed using a volumetric filler, while the pear segments were packed by hand.  Key requirements for the new line for Hot Cuisine were to reduce giveaway on both products, as well as to increase throughput for the pears and achieve a tidier packing operation for the beetroot.

Beetroot is manually fed onto an existing conveyor, which is controlled by the new BRN line.  The conveyor takes the product to a grater, from where it is fed onto the infeed conveyor, which moves the beetroot to the top of the weigher.

The Ishida FFW features a linear design with hoppers fed by linear vibratory feeders from the infeed table.  An operator is stationed at the infeed table and evenly distributes product to each of the hoppers.  The weigher operates like a traditional multihead weigher, calculating the best combination of hoppers whose combined weight comes closest to the required target weight, to deliver fast throughput and maximum accuracy.  Scraper type hoppers ensure a clean and complete evacuation of the product portions at each weighing cycle.

The weigher is synchronised with the chain-and-peg conveyor and discharges the weighed product into trays that have been automatically denested and presented underneath the weigher.  A special dipping funnel guides the product into the trays to minimise spillages.  The filled trays are then transported to a tray sealer.

The pears, which are originally supplied in 3kg bags and repacked for the retail market, are placed directly onto the infeed conveyor.  The remainder of the operation is the same as for the beetroot but the line also incorporates special drainage features to remove excess juice during the weighing and filling operation.  After filling, an extra station on the exit chain-and-peg conveyor allows syrup to be added before the trays are sealed.

The line is packing trays in 250g and 400g sizes.  Top speed is around 35 packs per minute.  A waterproof construction allows easy cleaning for fast and hygienic product changeovers.

Hot Cuisine is delighted with the new line, particularly the reduction in giveaway for the pears, which was excessive when weighed and packed by hand.

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