High-quality German food manufacturer Buerger has more than doubled packing speeds at its Crailsheim site in southern Germany, where it manufactures a range of popular traditional soups, following the installation of a 16-head Ishida RS-Series multihead weigher.
Capable of mix-weighing up to four separate ingredients, the R-Series has also enabled the company to achieve excellent product consistency through improved accuracy of mixing.
Buerger is renowned for its range of Maultaschen, pasta pockets filled with meat, vegetable and herb mixes, which has been one of its signature products for decades. The company also produces a wide range of regional dishes, Italian meals and international specialities.
The soups produced at its Crailsheim site feature a variety of relatively costly ingredients including smaller versions of Maultaschen made especially for soups, flour dumplings, butter dumplings, meat balls, cream cheese balls and semolina balls.
When Buerger originally launched the soups, packs were being filled at the rate of 18 trays per minute; this was considered to be an acceptable speed, given the company’s concern for quality control, which ensured that the manual weighing and mixing involved were carried out with great attention to detail.
Mix-weighing automation using a multihead weigher
Thanks to its long-standing relationship with Ishida, Buerger saw the opportunity to automate the mix-weighing (using a multihead weigher) as a way to increase consistency, minimise product giveaway and so further guarantee consumer satisfaction, while simultaneously increasing speed to help meet growing demand. These were the key factors behind its choice of Ishida’s RS-Series multihead weigher.
The RS is Ishida’s state-of-the-art mid-range series, which still out-performs most top-of-the-range competitor models thanks to its advanced combination calculation software that brings significant advantages in both speed and accuracy.
The RS further eases the operator’s task by the incorporation of a self-adjusting vibration system, practically eliminating the need for manual intervention. An integrated load cell at the start of the distribution system monitors the weight of product at the dispersion table and adjusts the output of the feed system to ensure smooth and consistent operation.
Buerger’s new weigher combines highly accurate weighments of each of three or four frozen ingredients, depending on the product, to give exactly the required mix, and then discharges them into thermoformed trays with target weights of 250g, 300g or 400g.
At 48 trays per minute, the speed is over two and a half times that of the manual weighing process. As a result, the line can now easily cope with demand within the factory’s normal two-shift routine, and expensive week-end working can be avoided entirely.
The change to automatic mix-weighing means that one person can run this part of the operation and, thanks to an informative and easy-to-use graphic interface, that single operator achieves a much higher degree of overall control.
The Ishida RS multihead enables Buerger to meet the demand for its soups and a further advantage is that it can also function very efficiently as a single-ingredient weigher. In this role it supplements the company’s other Ishida equipment in handling products such as freshly cooked tortellini, which is a relatively sticky product.
“The weigher improves our flexibility as we can use it for two applications that are, at first sight, irreconcilable,” says Klaus Malcharek, technical director at Crailsheim.