Multihead weighing solution provides right mix for raw vegetable range

AN Ishida multihead weigher has proved its worth for a new range of products from French canned food company André Laurent, which specialises in cabbage and sauerkraut.

The company’s Veg’and Bio Probiotics brand offers fermented raw vegetable mixes. Available in three different recipes in 180g pouches, the products are manufactured to serve the organic groceries sector.

Originally the mixes were weighed using a circular weigher, but Ishida explained this proved unsuitable as the strips of grated vegetables were not easy to separate and became tangled together, which made them impossible to weigh accurately. This resulted in André Laurent having to carry out much of the production process by hand.

The company sought an alternative weigher that would avoid damaging or cutting the vegetables and guarantee accurate weighing, while at the same time ensuring the same quality of the vegetable mix and keeping within their investment budget.

The solution from Ishida was the CCW-R2-106-WB Fresh Food Weigher, a semi-automatic model designed to cope with ‘sticky and difficult-to-handle and delicate’ products, such as raw vegetables. The linear design receives product from a conveyor belt to the top of the weigher, where one or two operators distribute it via belt feeders to the weigh hoppers.

For André Laurent, Ishida revealed the weigher has proved to be ‘extremely effective’ in terms of accuracy, particularly given the small pack weights. The ergonomic inline layout makes it easy to spread out the products on the feeder table and the belt feeders facilitate a ‘precise and consistent’ product feed to the weigh hoppers to retain the quality of the mixes. Features such as scraper hopper gates, ribbed surfaces and scraper gates on the collection belt conveyors are said to minimise product sticking.

André Laurent has reportedly cut its product giveaway tenfold, and reduced the number of operators required for this range of products by the same amount.

The Ishida CCW-R2 is delivering a production capacity of 1,500 pouches per hour.

“We can change recipes in five minutes,” said Anne Prieur, quality manager at André Laurent.

Thanks to these benefits, the company is now planning to develop more formats for its vegetable mixes.

General manager François Laurent added, “For five generations, our company has stood out due to its desire to develop product ranges that meet both market expectations and consumer trends. We already had the concept (fermented mixes of grated vegetables), we already had the packaging, and we already had the customer base. What we didn’t have was suitable equipment.

“We knew we had made the right choice after the very first test runs with the Ishida linear multihead weigher. We never thought that a company of our size, with our sometimes tight investment budget, would be able to own this kind of equipment. Ishida was able to prove that it could meet any need we have, while remaining within our budget.”