Weigher flexibility maximises packing potential

A 20-head multihead weigher from Ishida Europe has played a key role in the automation of the packing operation for a variety of ready to cook potato products from a leading Slovakian producer, Liptovskà Potravinàřskà.

A family business established in 2000 as a supplier of raw potatoes, Liptovskà Potravinàřskà first started to produce peeled potatoes in 2007.

The Liptovskà factory features a special steam peeling system for the potatoes, one of the first to be installed in central Europe, and also has the ability to handle unpeeled potatoes. Once the potatoes have been prepared, weighed and packed, they are transferred to an autoclave for sterilisation, giving them an extended shelf life while maintaining their quality and freshness. They are then ready to cook in minutes in a saucepan, oven or microwave.

The company introduced its autoclave system in 2019 and its success led to the establishment of the Ishida packing operation in order to be able to maximise throughput and meet demand. Liptovskà has now also launched a retail line under its Pan Zemiak (Mr Potato) brand.

Liptovskà Potravinàřskà decided to invest in a weighing and packing line that could fulfil the demand from both retail and foodservice customers and after speaking with Ishida’s CEE team, the decision was made to invest in a 20-head Ishida multihead weigher as the key component of the new line.

The flexibility of the Ishida CCW-RV-220WB-1D-30-WP enables it to handle both 450g retail pack sizes and larger 3kg and 5kg packs for the foodservice sector, with a top speed of 120 packs per minute for the 450g, and 40 and 20 packs per minute for the 3kg and 5kg sizes.

The 3 litre hoppers are capable of weighing whole, sliced or diced potatoes. In order to deliver the required speeds for the larger pack sizes, the weigher is divided into four sections. Each section acts as a separate weigher at a lower target weight and these individual weights are then combined and placed into a customised distribution system, which comprises a twin swing chute with dipping funnel that transfers the potatoes into thermoformed trays.

For a 5kg pack, the weigher produces four individual weights of 1250g which are placed into the tray one after the other; for the 3kg size, it is two weights of 1500g; for the 450g retail packs, the potatoes are despatched in a single weighment.

The 20-head Ishida multihead is from the company’s top of the range RV series. This features Ishida’s unique triple combination calculation software that can calculate optimal weight combinations, double check them and then select the one nearest to the target weight, all in a single cycle. In particular, this ensures that accuracy is maintained when the weigher operates in the split mode for the larger size packs.

The Ishida weigher is in operation for 12 hours each day, and as well as the cooked potato varieties is also handling raw potatoes. Special anti-floor vibration removes background vibration from the load cell output signal, improving signal stability and machine accuracy for consistently reliable operation. Its waterproof construction allows fast and easy cleaning. The Ishida installation also included an elevator to transfer potatoes to the top of the multihead weigher. An Ishida DACS-G-S060 checkweigher provides a consistent final weight check.

“We have been very pleased with the performance of the Ishida multihead weigher,” noted Liptovskà Potravinàřskà’s executive director Michal Hajden. “It is both accurate and reliable, as well as being easy to set up and operate – and Ishida provided us with initial training to ensure we were familiar with all the features of the machine.”

In addition to its domestic market, the company is also investigating export opportunities for its new retail range.

“We see great potential for our Pan Zemiak range alongside our existing foodservice business,” explained Michal Hajden. “Thanks to the capabilities of our Ishida multihead weigher, we are well placed to maximise our opportunities.”

Related content

Leave a reply

Food and Drink Technology