An Ishida RS-Series multi-head weigher installed at leading Austrian confectionery manufacturer Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur GmbH has enabled the company to achieve a new level of packing accuracy for its premium Balleros range, resulting in an extra 20 boxes for every 1,000 produced.
Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur GmbH specialises in the production of organic chocolates. It manages the entire process in-house, from buying the cocoa beans to producing the finished packaged product. Each chocolate in Zotter’s Balleros range has a highly concentrated centre containing exotic taste combinations such as ginger with turmeric, and pumpkin seeds with hemp, surrounded by a chocolate coating and dusted with powdered fruit or sugar. The chocolates are sold in 100g cardboard boxes.
In the past the packaging of the hand-crafted chocolates proved to be a difficult process, often resulting in variation of the pack weight ranging from 95g to 110g. The shapes, sizes and weights of the chocolates differ so much from piece to piece that counting them would not be a valid method to comply with average weight regulation.
Nevertheless, as the Balleros are quite fragile, gentle handling is also an important requirement to maintain a high product appeal.
The solution, which was project-managed by Ishida, included a dust-protected belt feeder to take the chocolates to the top of a multi-head weigher. The ten-head weigher benefits from the increased speed and accuracy of Ishida’s mid-range RS-Series.
With the new multi-head weigher, the 100g boxes can be filled at 120 packs per minute, which is twice the rate achieved by Zotter’s packing team when using a less accurate linear weigher. Despite this speed, there has been no increase in packing-related damage as all key contact surfaces are fitted with a shock-absorbent coating, and each weighment is gently deposited in the boxes via a dipping funnel.
The continuous smooth flow of product through the machine is assured using a loadcell and software. Both 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.
The major benefit of the new multi-head is the reduction in pack weight variation, which is now firmly held within a range of 98g to 102g, and as a result has enabled production throughput to be increased.
“We based our buying decision on the weigher’s high accuracy and on the possibility of achieving consistent results regardless of the product we weigh,” said Josef Zotter, founder and owner of Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur GmbH. “The weigher’s flexibility suits our emphasis on handling a number of different products with a single weigher while minimising product breakage.”