In confectionery manufacture you need the right tools for the job at every stage, including packing. Sánchez Cano, celebrating 60 years in the business and still growing dynamically, shares some important insights.
Sánchez Cano is Spain’s leading manufacturer of gummi confectionery, marshmallows, liquorice, hard candies and bubble gum, and is rapidly expanding in overseas markets. Still 100% owned by the founding family, it has a reputation for innovation, regularly adding to its existing 4,000 product variants.
The company now has 12 Ishida multihead weighers at its main Spanish manufacturing site at Molina de Segura in Murcia.
From wiggly worms to fried eggs and cola bottles
Chewy jellies come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. For weighing and packing purposes, however, they fall into two main categories. On separation from their moulds, the jellies can be oiled, to give that wonderful shine that so appeals to children, or sugar-sanded for a more traditional look.
"The sugared jellies are relatively easy to handle," says Antonio Gambin Balsalobre, director of engineering at Sánchez Cano. "We’ve tended to favour 16-head double discharge multihead weighers because you basically get two fast weighers into the space of one. They’re very flexible, and you can for example run one side while cleaning the other."
The oiled jellies are much more inclined to stick, especially in the case of products such as ‘fried eggs’ or ‘rings’, where there are relatively large flat surfaces.
"Here we favour dedicating a whole weigher to each product, where the number of heads helps to make up for a relatively slow-moving product."
Among the weighers used for the oiled jellies are single-discharge 14-head weighers with anti-stick contact parts, including metal mesh in the hopper gates.
Liquorice and marshmallows
Glazed liquorice is comparable to oiled jelly in stickiness. At Sánchez Cano, mixtures of liquorice candies are also weighed on 14-head weighers with special contact parts.
Marshmallows, dusted with sugar or cornflour, are handled on a 16-head double discharge weigher mounted over twin bagmakers, filling 500g and 1.25kg bags. The weigher has spacious three litre hoppers to accommodate this bulky product.
Chewing gum: a relatively fragile product
Sánchez Cano’s latest Ishida multihead weighers include a 16-head double outlet model selected to fill resealable doypacks with chewing gum pieces. It fills 180g packs for the EU as well as 142g for the US market. It can also handle smaller packs for the home market, 28 pieces per pack, at 120 packs per minute (60ppm each side).
Fast, accurate packing machinery is essential for efficient production at such small pack sizes. But there is another reason why this particular weigher was chosen.
"Chewing gum begins to lose moisture as soon as it’s made," comments Antonio Gambin, "which means that harsh treatment could easily cause pieces of the outer coating to break off: that is why we have selected an Ishida weigher with bancollan linings to reduce impact damage and the force of collisions."
Here today, and here tomorrow
"A primary reason for working with Ishida is the fact that they have a full range of fast and reliably accurate machines for confectionery packing, at a time when we are increasingly dedicating individual machines to specific products," says Antonio Gambin.
"However, equally important is the level of support. Between Ishida and CIMA (Ishida’s Spanish distributor) they have six engineers available locally, which makes for a very responsive service. Unlike many new arrivals in the market, Ishida support will be here tomorrow as well as today."
Antonio Gambin points to a weigher acquired by Sánchez Cano back in 1987, still weighing 1kg bags of liquorice at 36ppm. "Despite the age of this machine, it is still working at a good speed and I am even able to predict and plan my spares costs for it: there are not many machinery brands about which you can say that!"