Products with brittle shells, such as dragées or chocolate-coated cereals, can now be rapidly packed without significant collision damage thanks to Ishida’s unique multihead weigher design.
Working with the Sucralliance subsidiary of major confectionery group CEMOI, Ishida has devised a solution where 99.5% of the sweets are unbroken and free of cracks, combining this quality with the benefits of automation, with speeds of up to 50 packs a minute for a 150g pack.
At its famous Coppelia factory in Chambéry, northeast of Grenoble, the company produces dragées with both almond and chocolate centres, in a variety of multicoloured assortments. Applying the coating of the sweet requires time and the skilled use of special enrobing machines. However hard the final coating may seem, it is quite fragile: a fall of 300mm is enough to practically ensure that the dragée will break or at least crack.
Coppelia was looking for ways to manufacture these traditional products more cost-effectively, seeking greater efficiencies in the areas of weighing and packing. However, these are precisely the areas where conventional automation was most likely to damage the dragées.
The company therefore partnered with Ishida to devise a new automated packing line with the specific challenge to find and install a weighing solution, draw up the overall line specification and train the staff.
The Ishida team conducted exhaustive tests with the Coppelia products, using different weighers and drop distances. The weighing solution chosen was a multihead weigher in which the weigh hoppers are arranged in a straight line, and where drop distances have been minimised and crucial contact surfaces coated with shock-absorbing material.
This special machine is proving very effective. As Alain Collet, production director, puts it: "The dragées don’t actually fall, they run downwards along a gentle 45° slope."
Coppelia is already using the new line for other confectionery with fragile coatings, such as quail eggs and seagull eggs, as well as for products as diverse as chocolate-coated malted cereal.
"We are very grateful for the support Ishida has given us at different stages: defining the final specification based on our brief, organising production and training our people," says Alain Collet.