Frozen food manufacturer increases production capacity with Cremer washdown counting machine
Cremer, a leading supplier of product counting machines in the US for a wide array of applications, recently assisted a major frozen food manufacturer in increasing its production capacity of frozen meatballs. The project, which also included improving ease of cleaning, centered around Cremer’s Washdown (WD) Series, a line of hygienic stainless steel counting machines designed for precise counting and dispensing of individual food products in a variety of applications where cleanliness is paramount.
The frozen food manufacturer needed a hygienic way to efficiently and accurately count its frozen meatballs, which come in one- and four-inch varieties, each with minor variances in per-item weight. But despite having a custom-built counting solution – a single machine with two lanes – the company was running only 60-70 pieces per minute. While functional, the system was incapable of handling the capacity the company needed. Additionally, gaps in the machine made it cumbersome to count the smaller one-inch meatball variety, as they frequently became stuck.
Another challenge was cleaning – especially necessary with frozen meat, where hygiene and preventing cross-contamination of different herbs and spices is crucial. The company’s older, manual machine contained many parts making for labor-intensive and time-consuming cleaning, and tool-dependent changeovers that led to longer-than-desired downtime.
The company turned to Cremer for an upgrade, and selected Cremer’s WD Series.
“Unlike most counting machines, which are limited in tolerance to pressurised water, the WD Series are specifically constructed to thrive in the harsh working environments typically encountered where washdown/wipedown procedures are necessary,” said Brian Pomponio, business development manager of Cremer North America. “A Cremer counting machine is recognised for its limited number of moving parts, minimal contact surface and tool-free changeover which makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze.”
The WD Series’ stainless-steel frame and contact parts are corrosion-resistant and designed for low-pressure hose wash and sanitising chemicals. The series also includes a separate parts trolley for convenient high-pressure sanitising. All contact parts can be taken off and a duplicate set installed while the other is deep cleaned. This allows for strong flavourings in food varieties to remain entirely separate, segregation for vegan/non-vegan options, and allergy safety assurance.
Important for the company’s desire to increase capacity, Cremer’s WD Series counter is equipped with six lanes (with the option of up to 12), handling between 500 to 1,000 products per minute, depending on product size. The WD Series are scalable for varying production levels and compatible with all industrial packaging machines, minimising the amount of ancillary equipment investments companies need to make.
Other features of the WD series include a product detection unit with 100 percent accuracy, hinged side panels for optimal cleanability and vibratory plates for product transport and separation. A timing hopper for discharging product counts is also built in, along with a vibratory sieve with collector tray.
The frozen food manufacturer has had its Cremer counting machine in operation for six months. In that time, the customer has reportedly seen a marked uptick in capacity, producing product ten times faster than before, while experiencing much less overall product overage. In fact, a new bagger was desired to keep up with the increase in production levels.
In addition, the customer has reported that its washdown process has improved significantly with tool-free disassembly and quick changeovers ensuring a hygienic environment with less downtime.
For more information about Cremer, visit: www.cremer.com.