Maximising efficiency key theme of Ishida snacks open house
The snacks industry remains extremely buoyant. According to the Snack, Nut and Crisp Manufacturers Association, in the UK alone the savoury snacks industry was estimated to be worth £3,229 million in 2013.
While crisps and nuts remain hugely popular – helped by the introduction of new flavours and varieties – recent years have also seen a rapid expansion of new products and techniques, such as baked, high pressure ‘popping’ and a re-imagining of traditional popcorn with modern twists on flavours.
All of this presents huge opportunities to manufacturers. But with fierce competition, and consumer demand for new experiences fuelling intense new product development programmes, the pressures on manufacturers to maximise the throughput and efficiencies of their processing and packing operations becomes all the more vital.
Open house event
Against this background, packing line solutions specialist Ishida Europe recently held a series of open house days at its manufacturing headquarters in Woodgate, Birmingham, UK, to highlight its latest developments in snacks packing. The event attracted over 20 customers from major snacks producers across Europe.
“We were delighted with the calibre of visitors to our open houses and overall the event was a great success, with one confirmed order already and a number of very promising enquiries,” comments Simon Ruffley, business manager – snacks packaging systems at Ishida Europe.
“It is clear from discussions during these days that there is still plenty of new product innovation in the sector, and we are committed to ensuring that we continue to invest in the development of equipment that helps manufacturers maximise their opportunities. Critical to this is the need for high throughput at maximum efficiency.”
Ishida has long been recognised for its supply of multihead weighers for snacks applications, but the event also showcased the wide range of other equipment that the company offers for the sector, including bag makers, in-line seal testers, x-ray inspection systems, checkweighers and case packers, and through these Ishida’s ability to design and install complete snacks packing solutions.
A number of advanced weigher and bagmaker combinations were demonstrated, showing how equipment can be tailored to differing customer requirements. These ranged from the entry-level First Range weigher/bagmaker, which promises a fast payback on a reduced investment level; to an advanced combination that featured an 18 head RV multihead weigher operating in twin mode, filling potato crisps into two Ishida Atlas bagmakers at 140 packs per minute (per side) while maintaining high system efficiency and less than 0.1g giveaway.
Specialist solutions on display included a bespoke line for croutons and the company’s recently launched high speed but gentle handling salt-stick packing system.
Its latest product innovation, a fully automated case packing solution, was also unveiled. It incorporates integrated seal tester and checkweigher, which tackles another challenge in delivering an efficient snacks packing line. The twin delta-robot case packer includes an integrated case erector and full product cookbook functionality, allowing seamless switching between case patterns and pack sizes.
Significantly, the compact footprint allows two systems to be installed side-by-side and aligned with the output of an Ishida twin weigher/bagmaker combination. Positioned on 850mm centres, the case packer can achieve a packing capability of up to 150 bags per minute per side.
Also on show…
Other innovations included the new Ishida Expert software, which offers computer-based learning on Ishida products to ensure that all equipment is set up, operated and maintained to optimum performance levels at all times; the iTPS (Integrated Total Packaging System), which supports linked operation of bagmakers with multihead weighers, throat metal detectors, printers, seal testers and checkweighers; and the Data Capture System (IDCS II), a software that captures data from every pack that passes across an Ishida checkweigher to monitor packing line performance and help improve OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness).
Competition in retail markets also leads to manufacturers offering a variety of promotions and incentives to encourage purchase. Ishida therefore demonstrated token inserters that can be incorporated into its weighing and bagging systems. 2D and 3D inserters allow the placement of free gifts, competitions, sachets or an accompanying dip or sauce directly into the bag. In addition, banner devices enable a promotional message to be applied to a pack, allowing existing packaging to be used for the duration of a promotion without the need for new artwork to be prepared.
The open houses took place in the company’s £1 million Snacks Demonstration facility, a dedicated area which houses the latest in Ishida’s snacks packing equipment, where customers are able to view the range of snacks equipment, test and trial new products and carry out pre-delivery inspections.