A leading wholesaler of food specialties introduced Ishida multihead weighing for increased output, opening path to new varieties.
Pelmeni, a Russian-style filled dumpling, have become a very popular frozen convenience food purchased at retail outlets in Russia. Traditional pelmeni fillings include minced pork, lamb, or beef, or mixtures of all three and are boiled (or fried) and served with a sauce, often accompanied by vodka. Recently, a leading wholesaler used a linear weigher to feed dumplings into a bagmaker. Although accuracy was poor, the main problem was the low speed: the packing process was a major bottleneck. Adding similar weighers was not an option due to space constraints. Reluctant to disrupt existing production while demand was high, the wholesaler looked to Ishida weighing solutions. The creator of the industry standard computer combination weigher’s solution was to install a modern multihead weigher as a drop-in replacement for the linear model, leaving the rest of the line in place.
The Ishida scale doubled production output from 8.8 to 17.6 tons of pelmeni per day.
The multihead weigher provides flexibility by allowing for various target weight packing options.
A boost for production and innovation
Their production output doubled from 8.8 to 17.6 tons of pelmeni per day. An unpredicted benefit is the effect on product variety. When production was held back, product innovation took second place to satisfying the demand for core products. Now, the site is producing more than 20 varieties, including exotic forms, such as quark (cheese) or strawberry-filled dumplings. The same is true of pack formats. The line is now packing at target weights of 15.9 oz, 17.6 oz, 2.2 lbs, and 3.3 lbs, twice the previous options. “Before the modernization, the introduction of new products inevitably took place at the expense of the standard range” says the quality manager. “Thanks to the Ishida machine, we have become much more flexible.”
Gentle handling features
For the productivity increase to be fully effective, it is important that the increased weighing speed not also result in increased breakage of the fragile frozen pelmeni. For this reason, the installed 14-head weigher is fitted with several measures to cushion the pasta parcels on their path to the bagmaker. Brought to the top of the weigher in a flighted elevator with plastic contact parts, pelmeni are channeled via a funnel and a plastic collar onto the plastic-coated dispersion table. On exiting the weigh hoppers, the 2.2x1.4x0.6 in. 0.5 oz dumplings are prevented from colliding with each other by a shock-absorbent plastic pole suspended in the plastic lined discharge chute.
Easy cleaning: a further aid to high productivity
For food products containing meat, proper cleaning during changeovers is essential. Like all Ishida multihead weighers, the installed model enables thorough cleaning to keep associated downtime to an absolute minimum, further boosting production. Contact parts can be lifted off and after cleaning dropped back into place. The 3.2 qt hoppers are interchangeable, as are the radial feeders. Individual hoppers can even be removed and replaced during operation without materially affecting accuracy.
Accuracy equals rapid payback
Another important contributor to productivity has been the increased yield associated with the superior accuracy of the Ishida weigher. The quality manager points out, “Based on its remarkable accuracy alone, it paid off the investment some time back. While previously 1.1 lb might end up in a 1 lb pack, today overfill stays reliably below 1%.”