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MULTIPOND optimizes the weighing of noodles and salad
Kanes Foods Ltd. is one of the largest salad processors in Great Britain. Packaged, pre-washed "ready to eat" salads are one of their main areas of business which is complimented by prepared Stir-fry vegetables, Coleslaw and dressed salads, Sauces and dressings along with a Beansprout growing unit. The company employs 1,500 people across 5 separate business units based in Evesham near Birmingham. Further expansion is in the pipeline with the building of an ecologically-based factory. The owner, John Randall says: "We consider our activity and the further development of the company not only in economic terms but also from an ecological viewpoint too. We are both committed to our customers as well as our surroundings". Production in this most modern facility is planned to start in April 2011.
This innovative company looked to expand its scope of business and in 2005 opened a unique plant for the processing of fresh noodles. Kanes Foods Ltd produces fresh noodles daily and the company decided to purchase its second multihead weigher from MULTIPOND to replace a competitor's weighing system in order to optimize the noodle packaging process.
The weighing system is a 20-head multihead weigher, the MP 20-3800/2500-H. The freshly prepared noodles are conveyed to the weigher using a new type of conveying system. The weighing system has been custom built to the requirements of the products to be weighed. The product contact parts of the weigher were supplied with the specially developed stepped profile to enable perfect product flow. Noodles, once deposited on to the weigher, are conveyed to the prefeed hoppers via the radial feed trays and then to the weigh hoppers underneath. Using the partial portions, a micro-processor determines the combination which corresponds to the target weight to be achieved. After the actual weighing process, the accurate weight portions are transferred to the VFF & S (vertical form fill & seal machine) via an outlet funnel using a special timing hopper. Maximum accuracy and availability are provided by the calibration systems integrated in each load cell which makes completely automatic calibration possible even during the production. "With their high reliability and effectiveness, the system certainly represents the core for the line availability", says Sam Saunders, Engineering Manager.
The system complies with the highest hygiene requirements in the prepared produce sector and has proven to be extremely reliable in the harsh environment even when being hosed down several times a day. The weigher is operated via an easy to use color touchscreen monitor. Mark Harris, Kanes General Manager says: "Thanks to the easy to use interface, our employees can operate the weighers from MULTIPOND in a very short time which is extremely important for us. The weighers manufactured by MULTIPOND are one of the most reliable machines according to our records in the factory. If all the factors such as giveaway, reliability, spare parts and personnel costs are considered, the MULTIPOND weighers pay for themselves within a very short time".
For a target weight between 350g and 410g, approx. 40,000 bags are packed daily in a 2-shift operation 7 days per week. Mark Harris is extremely satisfied with the results achieved: "With MULTIPOND we optimized labour usage at twice the previous pack rate thus exceeding our objectives. We were also able to reduce pack ‘giveaway’ due to the accuracy of the weighers”. The project went so well that the whole manufacture and packing installation was duplicated 2 years later to cope with increased demand from its retail customers.
It was at this time that Kanes Foods Ltd started to look at the weigher and the stepped profile as a solution to handling salad leaves more effectively and efficiently. Trials were completed across the entire range of salads with improvements demonstrated on pack rate and mean weight control. A program of investment has seen all multihead weighers in the existing salad packing operation be replaced with weighers from MULTIPOND with the most recent installation incorporating 2 of the MP 20-3800/2500-H weighers. The popular "Caesar Salad" is packed here with dressing and the cheese and crouton bags being added into dedicated heads on the weigher ensuring the correct number of sachets end up in each pack with zero complaints.
A genuine partnership between the two companies has emerged over time since the installation of the first MULTIPOND machines for weighing Stir Fry and Salad products. MULTIPOND was the only manufacturer of multihead weighers able to solve the problem of "completely automatic weighing of fresh noodles". Further multihead weighers from MULTIPOND have gradually been installed to improve production lines performance. There are already a total of 13 combination weighers from MULTIPOND in use at Kanes Foods Ltd and MULTIPOND have been chosen to be the weighing partner for the new leafy salad factory with a further 8 multihead weighers ordered.
MULTIPOND is the sales and service division of the German based manufacturing company ATOMA which has been established since 1946. The first automatic weighing system for the packaging industry was launched in 1963. It is positioned as the market leading innovator in the design and manufacture of customized multihead weighing systems for the packaging industry. Headquarters and manufacturing facilities are in Waldkraiburg, Germany, about 65km east of Munich. Beside the global network of sales and service representatives, there are four wholly owned sales and service subsidiaries in the UK, the Netherlands, France and the US.
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