Food and Beverage Business

Ishida Linear Multihead Weigher Improves Efficiency for New Raw Vegetable Range

Ishida Linear Multihead Weigher Improves Efficiency for New Raw Vegetable Range food and drink packaging, food and drink sustainable packaging, Food packaging, Machinery Food and Beverage Business

An Ishida multihead weigher, specifically designed to handle fresh, sticky produce with speed, accuracy and efficiency, has proved the ideal solution for a new range of products from French canned food company André Laurent, which specialises in cabbage and sauerkraut.

The company’s Veg’and Bio Probiotics brand offers a variety of fermented raw vegetable mixes. Available in three different recipes in 180g pouches, the products are manufactured on a small scale to serve the organic groceries sector. Originally the mixes were weighed using a circular weigher, but this proved unsuitable as the strips of grated vegetables were not easy to separate and became tangled together, which made them impossible to weigh accurately. This resulted in André Laurent having to carry out much of the production process by hand, leading to excessive product giveaway.

The company therefore sought an alternative weigher that would avoid damaging or cutting the strips of grated vegetables and guarantee accurate weighing, while at the same time ensuring the same quality of the vegetable mix and keeping within their investment budget.

The solution from Ishida was the CCW-R2-106-WB Fresh Food Weigher, a semi-automatic model that is able to cope with sticky and difficult-to-handle and delicate products, such as raw vegetables. The linear design receives product from a conveyor belt to the top of the weigher, where one or two operators evenly distribute it via belt feeders to the weigh hoppers. This helps to optimise the speed and efficiency of the weighing process.

For André Laurent, the weigher has proved to be extremely effective in terms of accuracy, particularly given the small pack weights. The ergonomic inline layout makes it easy to spread out the products on the feeder table and the belt feeders facilitate a precise and consistent product feed to the weigh hoppers to retain the full quality of the vegetable mixes. Features such as scraper hopper gates, ribbed surfaces and scraper gates on the collection belt conveyors minimise product sticking.

Thanks to the installation of the weigher, André Laurent has cut its product giveaway tenfold, and reduced the number of packaging operators required for this range of products by the same amount.

The Ishida CCW-R2 is currently guaranteeing André Laurent a production capacity of 1500 pouches per hour. Set up and changeovers can be carried out simply and quickly. Ease of cleaning is another key benefit, with fast removal and replacement of the hoppers.

“We can change recipes in five minutes,” confirmed Anne Prieur, Quality Manager at André Laurent.

Thanks to all these benefits, the company is now planning to develop more formats for its vegetable mixes.

François Laurent, André Laurent’s General Manager said the new weigher has provided a value for money solution for this innovative new range:

“For five generations, our company has stood out due to its desire to develop product ranges that meet both market expectations and consumer trends. We already had the concept (fermented mixes of grated vegetables), we already had the packaging, and we already had the customer base. What we didn’t have was suitable equipment.

“We knew we had made the right choice after the very first test runs with the Ishida linear multihead weigher. We never thought that a company of our size, with our sometimes tight investment budget, would be able to own this kind of equipment. Ishida was able to prove that it could meet any need we have, while remaining within our budget.”

Based in Blignicourt in north-eastern France, André Laurent was founded more than 110 years ago. In order to ensure a proud future for its craftsmanship and expertise, the company has kept the business in the family for five generations, while at the same time maintaining a perfect balance between resolute respect for tradition and a firm focus on innovation and new trends.

In line with this philosophy, André Laurent markets high-quality products that are packed with flavour, as well as being perfectly accessible and easy to use, whether sauerkraut or cooked vegetable recipes. The company employs 30 people, rising to 75 in peak season, with a turnover of €7.2 million. Its markets are retail (30%), industry and wholesalers.

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