A fast but highly compact packing line based around an Ishida CCW-RS multihead weigher is enabling Swiss convenience food manufacturer Fredag AG to respond to urgent orders for products in thermoform packs, such as chicken nuggets.
Fredag was seeking a solution to meet increasing requests from retail customers to package large quantities of special offers at short notice. A dedicated handling facility was needed, but floor space was at a premium for an installation that would only be used intermittently. A further requirement was careful product handling to ensure the fish and poultry nuggets remain evenly breaded to preserve their appearance.
The Ishida CCW-RS multi-head weigher installation, devised by Ishida and its Swiss agent Itech AG, was specially designed to save space. The conveyors which feed the CCW-RS are steeply angled at 65º, yet despite this no product is spilled. With no room for a support structure, since the available height was only four metres, the gantry and the weigher are attached directly to the plant’s ceiling. As a further space-saving measure, the trolley-mounted filling system can be removed from between the weigher and the thermoformer when the packing line is not running.
The CCW-RS is designed to carefully handle products with challenging flow properties. The vibration frequencies of the weigher and its feed system are adjustable to ensure a consistent product flow. To eliminate sticking, all contact parts are made from embossed stainless steel and all transfer points on the system are designed to ensure the bread coating of the nuggets remains intact.
The new line often requires three product changes a day. Changeovers of the same product type are simply carried out by pressing a button. Changeovers between fish and poultry are facilitated because the waterproof CCW-RS can be hosed down for quick and easy cleaning. Water is readily removed from the gently-angled surface of the gantry. All contact parts can be removed, without tools, for quick hose-down.
With 1kg trays, the packing line has an hourly capacity of 2,000 trays, which increases to 2,650 per hour for 200g and 500g trays. Filling accuracy is within 3g on a 500g tray.
"This new packing line has enabled Fredag to supply special offers in high quantities at very short notice," comments Fredag’s plant director Phillipp Keller. "We are now able to accept orders we would have been obliged to turn down in the past."