A new Ishida four-mix multihead weigher is helping a major Serbian supplier of frozen fruit and vegetables deliver product mixtures which fully measure up to the expectations of customers.
Founded in 1992 by the Žunić family, Libertas grows, processes, packs and ships quality frozen produce for some of the best-known retailers in Europe.
Libertas offers more than ten different frozen fruits as individual products, but it wanted to enter the important retail market for mixtures of four to six fruits, which typically appear in supermarkets branded as ‘Summer Fruits’ or ‘Mixed Fruit’.
The packs of frozen mixed fruit or vegetables must contain an accurate mix, to match the colourful on-pack illustrations and contents listing.
A multihead weigher divided up to function as several separate weighers is the recognised and highly effective solution, because it can accept several different product streams and weigh them into a pack to produce a highly accurate mix.
After seeing the machine in use on two different sites, Libertas purchased a four-mix Ishida RS-Series weigher with 16 heads.
The Ishida weigher is divided into four quadrants, each of which has four pool, weigh and booster hoppers. The dispersion table is also sectioned into four parts, each with its own product infeed. It is able to function as four very fast and accurate separate weighers due to the state-of-the-art combination calculation system recently developed by Ishida.
Bags and trays are equally popular retail packaging methods for mixed fruit and vegetables, and the new Ishida machine means Libertas can pack either. Weighed product can be passed directly to a bagmaker or, via a filling system, deposited in a tray. Changeover from bags to trays takes just a few minutes.
Current target weights are 300g, 400g, 450g and 500g for trays, and 400g, 450g, 500g, 1kg, 2.5kg and 10kg for bags. Libertas’ new mixture-packing line is currently running at up to 35 packs per minute (ppm) for bags and 32ppm for trays. It has doubled production of these products while reducing the labour needed by 90%.
Yields have also increased. The accuracy of the Ishida multihead is such that giveaway on a 500g pack is down from 5g to under 1.5g.
Because of the improved accuracy, Libertas is now able to supply frozen fruit mixtures to several large European retail chains, meeting all their quality requirements.
The purchase by Libertas followed a presentation from Ishida’s Serbian agent, CD System of Belgrade, as well as the visit to two reference sites.
Libertas says the good co-operation between Ishida and its long-standing local agent was key to the successful completion of the installation.
"Ishida’s and CD System’s professional approach and project management guaranteed us a smooth installation, on time and to performance specification," says Libertas trade and financial manager Slobodan Žunić.
General manager Ivan Žunić confirms: "Ishida and CD System proved that they have huge experience in handling different products, including ours. This helped provide us with the best solution."
The Libertas range of mixes also includes frozen vegetable products such as its ‘Fitness Mix’ (parsnip, diced carrot, diced celery, cut celery and parsley), its ‘Grill Mix’ (broccoli, zucchini, aubergine, red pepper, yellow pepper and onion) and its ‘Chinese Mix’ (bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, mangetout, broccoli, zucchini, aubergine, red peppers, yellow pepper and onion).