Fair shares of gummi bears

100 grams are 100 grams. If that's what is stated on the package, that's exactly what should be inside. Combination weighers of the ATOMA-MULTIPOND Group from Waldkraiburg, Germany, ensure that confectionery items are packaged in accurate measures.
Giving products away is certainly not a business objective. If e.g. a major confectionery manufacturer such as Storck exceeds the stated package contents by a few grams only, this clearly translates into what Wilhelm Krämer, manager of the ATOMA-MULTIPOND Group of Waldkraiburg, calls 'a give-away'. If a contents of 100 grams is stated on the package, then the manufacturer will be paid for exactly 100 grams – and nothing more.
To ensure accurate weighing of products, many manufacturers of the food industry use MULTIPOND combination weighers which are designed, manufactured and assembled in Waldkraiburg. The group has a workforce of 160 and achieved an annual turnover of 20 million Euros in 2007. 125 employees work at the headquarters in Waldkraiburg in Bavaria, the others at subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the U.S.A. The 60th anniversary of the company was celebrated two years ago.
The company manufactures automatic multi-head and combination weighers for the packaging industry. According to Krämer, 95% of the weighers are used in the food industry, the rest is used for the packaging of small items or granular materials, among others. 'As far as engineering is concerned, we are the global market leader, in terms of output, we're number three', says Krämer, stating an annual production of approximately 150 weighing systems.
MULTIPOND counts Storck, Wagner Pizza, Manner and Burgi's among their customers, to name a few. Some products, such as gummi bears, are easier to weigh and dose than others. Lettuce or egg noodles are rather more demanding. Each product hence has its individual requirements for the weighing system. 'We adjust the product-conveying parts specifically to the product properties' explains Thomas Kozel, technical writer of the company. This could mean an adjustment of the angle of a conveyor duct or the coating of the duct with Teflon. Manner wafers e.g. cause chocolate residue on the conveyor belts, which hence require cooling.
According to Kozel, 'the dosing is the crucial point'.
The multi-head combination weigher performs the task as follows: The items, e.g. Campino candies, are discharged onto an indexing table at the top of the weigher from where they are distributed into radial dosing ducts. By vibration, the candies are transported to a hopper (shown in red). The candies are then forwarded into a weighing hopper located beneath for weighing.
At this point, the computer takes control. 'The computer combines quantities from different hoppers. It determines how the items from the individual hoppers are best combined to achieve the target fill weight as accurately as possible' explains Kozel. MULTIPOND weighers perform such tasks to near perfection.
Kozel admits that their weighers are more expensive than those of Japanese competitors. 'However, the give-away factor costs the companies even more.' The return of the initial investment is achieved quickly. Also, the weighers made in Waldkraiburg are much more accurate than those from Japan, adds Nina Pollack of the marketing department while giving a tour of the production hall. The claim is to offer customer-specific solutions rather than off-the-shelf weighers.
The global financial crisis, which has severely affected some companies in and around Waldkraiburg, has spared MULTIPOND. The premises have even been extended and the shipping department has been enlarged. 'People will always eat', assures manager Krämer, 'even in times of crisis'. During the recession, customers prefer lower-priced products from supermarkets. And these products must be weighed precisely before being packaged. kla

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