A new packing line at Dutch salad processor Tuinderij Vers, entirely sourced from Ishida Europe, has doubled packing speeds and halved labour costs as well as demonstrating other benefits of single-source supply.
Among the many products that Tuinderij supplies to supermarkets and the foodservice sector in the Netherlands and Belgium is a range of sliced vegetables in trays. These trays were originally packed by hand, but as demand increased, Tuinderij decided to automate the process with a new line and at the same time source all the equipment and associated services from one supplier.
The Ishida line includes a tray denester, RS series multihead weigher with 3L hoppers, QX-775 traysealer, IX-GA 4075 x-ray inspection system and a DACS-W checkweigher.
Trays are denested and conveyed to the distribution system outlet below the multihead weigher, where they receive the weighed product. The filled trays proceed to the traysealer, and then pass through the x-ray inspection system and the checkweigher. Satisfactory packs are labelled, case packed and palleted.
The trays, which range from 125g to 450g in target weight, are now being produced at 45-50 packs per minute, with sharply reduced giveaway and a very high degree of confidence as regards freedom from contamination. Tuinderij estimates that this is over twice the speed of the old manual line, with half the labour cost and a big increase in yield.
The Ishida denester places two trays at a time onto a single conveyor. It is a robust machine, with just six moving parts, that integrates fully into the system. The RS multihead weigher is part of Ishida’s value range, offering performance equal to or greater than top-range competitor models but at mid-range prices. Dispersion table and radial feeders are steeply inclined, as is the discharge chute, to help keep the reasonably sticky freshly cut vegetables moving.
Tray distribution system
The custom-built Ishida distribution system splits the weigher output into two streams and fills two trays at a time. A typical feed rate is 2 x 25 trays per minute, well below the weigher’s top speed but exactly right for smooth, efficient running of the overall line.
The Ishida QX-775 tray sealer is a rapid tool change model, which seals the trays (four at a time for the 450g ready-to-barbecue grill tray product that uses an aluminium tray) and prints a date and a production code onto the clear film. As trays leave the QX-775, a tray-turning device re-orients them in preparation for the next step.
Food X-ray inspection system
The Ishida IX-GA 4075 X-ray inspection system detects metal, glass, stone, plastic and other materials. Designed especially for the food industry, it can readily pick up, for example, a tiny steel knife tip in wet, freshly cut salad, even inside an aluminium foil tray. Its screen clearly shows the location of any contaminant, with the image being time stamped, stored and made available to Tuinderij’s information systems. It also signals to the rejection arm, located on the DACS-W checkweigher, to remove any potentially contaminated trays.
Single-source supply has contributed to the performance of the new line by ensuring optimum interfacing of the different packing functions, which helps to maximise efficiency. Equally important, during the installation process, when Tuinderij wanted to discuss and optimise content and layout, the company only had to talk to one supplier. Simplicity of communication and complete compatibility of the individual machines helped ensure that delivery and installation were successfully carried out to a very tight schedule. In addition, future maintenance and other support will also be simpler and more economical.
Edwin Noordermeer of Tuinderij’s management team is pleased with the new line and ready to extend the co-operation. “Ishida Europe will continue to be invited to contribute their packing line expertise,” he commented.