France’s biggest producer of bean sprouts, Heng Sieng, has automated its packing operation with the installation of two Ishida multihead weighers that deliver the necessary combination of gentle and hygienic handling with fast and accurate weighing.
Established 20 years ago, Heng Sieng imports mung bean seeds from Asia and germinates them to produce quality fresh bean sprouts. The company has transformed itself from a cottage industry serving the local catering trade, to a major supplier across Europe with its own well-known Sojalor brand: the Ishida weighers have played an important part in the transition. Today, the company produces 7200t annually with a turnover of €5m. It recently moved to a 9000m² site at Dieuze, north east of Nancy.
When CEO Mr Ly decided to automate the packing stage, he looked for a method that could stop the tendency of the bean sprouts sticking to contact surfaces, yet would avoid damaging the delicate product whose appeal lies largely in its crunchy freshness.
As Heng Sieng maintenance manager Mr Raphaël Dupont said: "That’s why he naturally went to Ishida."
The Ishida CCW-R-214-WS-50-WP features stainless steel, hex-embossed contact parts which discourage sticking while the large (5L) double-opening hoppers ensure a decisive transfer of product from pool to weigh hopper and from weigh hopper to discharge chute, while protecting the sensitive shoots from crushing or tearing.
The two weighers are mounted on gantries above vertical bagmakers, and fed by flighted elevators. Speeds – about 80 bags per minute for 500g bags and 35 bags per minute for 4kg bags – are currently held in check by the performance of the bagmakers, but the resulting throughput is perfectly adequate for current needs and leaves plenty of room for handling increasing demand.
Image: Heng Sieng close up dispersion table with product. Photo: courtesy of Ishida.