A German manufacturer of a new type of vegetable protein has achieved a fivefold increase in output following the installation of a multihead weighing solution from Ishida Europe.
Midori from the AMDIORI Food Company offers an alternative to meat substitutes by being based purely on vegetable protein. It can be pan or deep-fried as a replacement for minced beef or kebab meat,or breaded to make chicken-style nuggets. Midori is supplied frozen, either as a basic ingredient, or further processed in the form of ready meals.
With several major new orders for its vegetarian convenience food, AMIDORI needed to make its packaging process more efficient. This led to the replacement of its volumetric filling system with an Ishida CCW-RV 14 head multihead weigher.
“We wanted a top-quality weigher to satisfy growing demand and keep the cold chain intact,” says Christian Wicht, head of engineering and IT at AMIDORI. At the same time, the machine had to be very robust and water-resistant, as it will soon be required to handle fresh products as well as frozen food. As Christian Wicht explains, “AMIDORI has opted for production on an industrial scale with maximum flexibility.” There was also a maximum height requirement for the packaging equipment, as the chilled packing area has a ceiling height of just four metres, to save energy.
The CCW-RV-214 has been integrated to feed an existing thermoforming machine. Products are fed to the weigher by a mobile elevator with a hopper for manual loading. The weigher can be fitted with two differently inclined dispersion tables depending on the product. From there, radial feeder troughs transfer product to double opening pool hoppers, which supply a second layer of double opening weigh hoppers. A microprocessor then takes just a fraction of a second to calculate the combination of weigh hoppers that comes closest to the target weight.
The CCW-214 is handling weights of between 180g and 2kg. The tray filling system features a servo-driven transfer chute that feeds a set of discharge chutes below. This enables six thermoformed trays to be filled simultaneously, delivering a speed of 60 trays per minute and exploiting the full capacity of the thermoforming machine. By comparison, the volumetric filling system could manage only 12 trays per minute.
The multihead weigher at AMIDORI is installed on a mobile platform that can be moved to one side on rails and then lowered for cleaning whilst protecting the thermoformer from water ingress. The tray filling system can also be removed from the packing line with minimal effort.
The weigher regularly undergoes full foam-washdown and Christian Wicht therefore very much appreciates its unmatched water resistance. The Ishida CCW-RV series is certified to IP69K protection rating (protection against high-temperature, high-pressure water) and the hygiene-friendly sloped design allows liquids to run off and prevents build-up of product residue. “All of this is perfect for using the weigher to process both frozen and fresh products,” says Wicht.
Looking ahead, AMIDORI plans to have the CCW-RV permanently linked to Ishida’s remote services for the purpose of performance monitoring. The Ishida Sentinel online software records real-time production data and anticipates faults and drops in performance. Trends, batch information and statistics can be visualised on a case-by-case basis and sent out as reports. Sentinel will therefore allow AMIDORI to further optimise its packing process.