The installation of Ishida multihead weighers at leading United Arab Emirates food processor Cascade Marine Foods, one of the manufacturing facilities of the Al Kabeer group of companies, has enabled the company to double production output and reduce giveaway and downtime, while at the same time achieve improved hygiene and product quality.
Cascade is a major supplier of IQF (individually quick frozen) added-value protein products, such as chicken nuggets, burgers, kebabs, meatballs and prawns. The company has a strong reputation for innovation, with a regular flow of new product launches. Recently these have been targeted at the growing ready meals market, with latest introductions including BBQ chicken wings, chicken biryani and Thai curry.
Pack target weights vary from 250g to 1kg catering packs, with the majority of products packed into plastic pillow bags using VFFS machines.
The introduction of multihead weighing to the process has brought a number of major benefits. Thanks to the accuracy of the weighers, product giveaway has been reduced from around 10% using linear weighing technology to less than 2%. Coupled with the reliability of the Ishida weighers and fast changeover times, which have greatly reduced unwanted downtime, this has enabled Cascade to increase monthly production capacity from 400t to 800t. A further advantage of Ishida’s fully automated weighing systems is the reduction in manual handling, a vital factor in maintaining the quality of frozen products, particularly for items such as prawns which are covered with a glazing which could melt when exposed to the slightly lower ambient temperatures in the packing area.
Increased speed and accuracy
Cascade has recently installed its third Ishida weigher, a CCW-RS-210/30-WP. The ten-head weigher benefits from the increased speed and accuracy of Ishida’s mid-range RS-Series. The continuous smooth flow of product through the machine is assured using a loadcell and software, which monitor the product supply to the top of the weigher and adjust the vibration amplitude and frequency of the dispersion table and vibratory feeders to ensure an efficient product supply to the weigh heads. Top speeds are between 40 and 60 packs per minute and these are dependent on pack target weight and the constant supply of product from the IQF freezers.
The weigher’s waterproof construction allows fast and easy cleaning of the machine. Embossed contact surfaces and double opening hoppers ensure that the product moves easily throughout the weigher without sticking to the hopper doors.
The installation of this latest weigher consolidates a working partnership between Cascade and Ishida that dates back to the Pakex exhibition in the UK in 1992. The first machine, installed shortly afterwards, has provided years of reliable continuous operation and Cascade says it has cost the company just a few hundred pounds in replaceable consumables during this time.
More recently, the opening of Ishida’s sales and service support office in Dubai has further strengthened the two companies’ relationship.
“Ishida really has made a difference to our operation and contributed greatly to its success,” comments Cascade’s chief engineer M.A. Remigius. “Put simply, they have helped us to double production output, while increasing hygiene and quality levels, with equipment that is fast and reliable and easy to operate.
“Equally important, their levels of service are exemplary and, since the Ishida Middle East office is now only 30 minutes from us, if we ever do have a problem, we can rely on an engineer being with us almost before we put the phone down.”