A 16-head four-mix Ishida multihead weigher at leading Swiss breakfast cereal manufacturer Kentaur has achieved greater speed and accuracy in the weighing and packing of a wide variety of popped wheat cereals and corn flakes, leading to cost savings and reduced product giveaway.
Established in 1846, Kentaur is the largest breakfast cereal manufacturer in Switzerland. Today the company produces cereals for its own brand and for major retailers such as Migros and Coop. In order to meet latest customer requirements, Kentaur was seeking to invest in a new packing line that could work at high speeds, accommodate both long and short production runs, handle mixes as well as single-ingredient products, and offer rapid product changeovers.
Kentaur chose Ishida Europe’s representative in Switzerland, Itech of Rotkreuz, to plan and install a complete new flexible packing system comprising a three-story installation. The cereal is first fed from buffer silos mounted at the top. Two 1,200l silos are available for a single ingredient or for the major components of a mix, while two smaller 300l tanks can contain minor components or augment the large silos.
Each silo empties onto a vibrating feeder, situated on the next floor, at the top of the Ishida weigher. The 16-head R series model can control four-part mixtures, and can also readily adapt to three or two components or just a single ingredient.
The weighments are then discharged into a vertical bagmaker on the third level. The PE or PP bags (target weights range from 150g to 750g) are conveyed to a metal detector and are then checkweighed, before being picked-and-placed into cardboard boxes.
Mixing the ingredients on the weigher uses the outstanding accuracy of Ishida’s multihead weighing technology to ensure that every pack of breakfast cereal contains exactly the same amount of ingredients for each cereal mix, something that pre-mixing the ingredients could not achieve.
Speeds are impressive, given the relatively slow flow-rates of these types of cereal: a single product can attain 60 packs per minute, which is approximately three times the speed achieved with the linear weigher used previously, while mixtures in 375g packs can be produced at up to 45 packs per minute.
Equally important is the reduction in giveaway, according to plant manager Andreas Hebeisen. “The precision of the Ishida weigher translates directly into cost reduction,” he explains, citing the giveaway on a 375g pack of cornflakes experienced with the older linear weigher as 3.2g compared with the current Ishida-achieved level of 0.3g.
Another vital requirement for the line was fast changeovers to enable it to handle both, large orders and very short production runs. Where different ingredients are to be weighed, cleaning is necessary and the lift-off, drop-on design of the contact parts of the Ishida multihead weigher is a major help.
“The new line has broadened Kentaur’s capabilities and improved our abilities to meet our client’s expectations,” concludes Andreas Hebeisen. “The packing process is now significantly faster and the mixing function gives us great flexibility. The whole project is also a perfect example of on-time delivery, service orientation and reliability. The line has worked flawlessly from the start.”