Farmer's Snack has ambitious plans and relies on the comprehensive knowledge of MULTIPOND to expand its production capacity

Young, passionate and ambitious – these are the attributes that have set the Farmer's Snack company apart since it was established in 1971. Innovative product development has always been at the "heart" of the company and is reflected today in its high-quality products. This technology almost exclusively benefits product quality and represents the uncompromising recipe of the company's success. The production facility, which re-opened in 2011, will now raise the quality benchmark even higher. The company has around 130 employees in total. Its immense success and growth target of more than 20 percent mean the production facility has to be expanded even further.

As a result, two additional MP 20-1000-400-H-S5 MULTIPOND multihead weighers have recently been purchased. The purpose of the acquisition was to be able to guarantee precise ratios for nut and dried fruit mixtures.

The decision to purchase two MULTIPOND weighers is due to the company's extensive experience in the nuts & dried fruit sector, as well as the technical benefits it offers. As well as being able to guarantee the mixing ratios, MULTIPOND offered impressively simple cleanability and extremely low maintenance. A MULTIPOND multihead weigher that had been installed over 20 years ago and still going strong, simply made Farmer's Snack more convinced about the reliability and durability of the machines. "We have never had any problems with the machine, it runs just as well now as it did on the first day," says Boie Karstens, Managing Director for the Technology Section.

On both lines, mixtures containing up to three ingredients are weighed and packed by a fully-automated process. The product range spans from various sorts of nuts to very sticky dried fruits. With a nominal target weight of 60 g to 250 g, up to 90 bags per minute are weighed and packed. The giveaway here is kept to an absolute minimum of less than 0.1 g.

The three different products are fed to the weighing system via MULTIPOND vibration channels. Once they have arrived on top of the weigher, the products are first conveyed to the prefeed hoppers by the radially positioned feed trays, and then to the weigh hoppers underneath. The system operates based on the principle of combining partial portions. After the weighing process, the partial portion is deposited via specially-developed swiveling funnels into the memory hopper underneath. The use of the memory hoppers greatly increases the number of possible combinations and ultimately provides the basis for maximum accuracy and speed. Using the partial portions, a computer determines the best combination to achieve or come closest to the targeted weight. The finished precisely-weighed portions are finally delivered to the timing hopper, which delivers them to the downstream packaging machine. One system runs in combination with a conventional form fill seal machine, while the second one operates in combination with a Doy-Pack bag machine.

All product-carrying parts can be removed quickly and without tools, and have been precisely matched to the requirements of the products to be weighed in order to ensure a perfect product flow. The extremely sticky dried fruits in particular were instrumental in the machine's design.

Depending on the season, the systems run in two or three shift operations and process around 20 tons of product per day. The two MULTIPOND weighers weigh up to 40 different recipes. As Boie Karstens emphasizes: "The short conversion and cleaning times of the two multihead weighers play a key role here, especially since you simply switch on the weighers and they run without a problem."

The two multihead weighers are controlled and operated using a convenient color touchscreen monitor. Boie Karstens adds: "One of the most important criteria for us was a fast and easy to operate weighing system. Our employees quickly became familiar with the handling and operation of the machines."

Boie Karstens also appears to be extremely pleased with the cooperation with MULTIPOND: "MULTIPOND supported the project from the very start, and provided us with valuable help and advice. The company achieved everything required in the planning of all interfaces. MULTIPOND's tremendous wealth of experience made a significant contribution to the optimal design of the overall lines." 

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