Despite operating in one of the harshest food packing environments possible, an Ishida CCW-RS-214/70-WP-LONG multihead weigher is achieving excellent accuracy and reliability on IQF chicken pieces to deliver a fast payback on investment at the Års factory of Danpo, one of Denmark’s leading poultry processors and part of the Swedish food group Krongfågel Holding.
The weigher is handling a variety of frozen chicken pieces packed into bags from 500g to 5kg. One of its major challenges is the packing of leg quarters, each of which weighs up to 375g, into a 1kg bag (as well as other sizes up to 3.5kg).
The RS-214/70 features large hoppers and a wide discharge chute which help to avoid blockages of these large pieces and ensure fast product throughput. Nevertheless, with such heavy individual piece weights, there are occasions when even the pinpoint accuracy of the Ishida weigher cannot find the right combination of chicken quarters to meet the required target weight. In these circumstances, a unique reject system transfers the pieces automatically to a recirculating conveyor that takes them immediately back to the top of the weigher.
Even with this reject solution, the weigher is still able to operate at the required speeds, achieving – in tandem with the bagmaker – around 35 to 40 packs per minute on the chicken quarters, depending on bag size, while smaller and easier to handle pieces such as 900g packs of chicken fillets can be packed at around 50 bpm.
Another major advantage of the Ishida weigher is its stepper motor operation, which enables it to function extremely reliably at the very low temperatures of the frozen packing operation. Equally important, its robust construction can handle the very tough characteristics of frozen chicken pieces, particularly those with bones, to deliver reliable and consistent operation, while its waterproof finish withstands the pressures of a thorough machine wash down.
"This is the first Ishida installed at the factory and its overall construction is notably superior to other weighers we have operated," confirms Danpo Project Leader Henrik Hylleberg.
"A major issue with these other weighers has been cost of ownership whereas to date, with the Ishida having been installed for just under a year, we have not had to replace any spare parts. Coupled with the significant reduction in giveaway, the machine is well on its way to paying back the initial investment."
The hygienic design of the RS-214/70 means the weigher requires minimal downtime for cleaning. Different pack requirements are pre-programmed into its memory for easy changeovers at the touch of a button.
Another innovative feature of the installation is the incorporation of two remote control units (RCUs) for the weigher, one on the weighing platform and the other next to the bagmaker. This enables operators to make minor adjustments from below, keeping them away from the high noise levels around the weigher, while set up can be carried out using the platform-mounted RCU. A camera vision system is also in place above the weigher’s dispersion table to enable operators to monitor the weighing process remotely.
The Ishida weigher is incorporated into a new packing line at the Danpo factory, which also includes a case packing system featuring built-in metal detector, checkweigher and labeller, and has been integrated with Danpo’s existing bagmaker.
Krongfågel Holding is part of the major Swedish Lantmännen Group, and has a total of four abattoirs and one processing factory in Denmark and Sweden. The Danish Danpo site in Års process 45 million chickens per year.