Ishida multihead weighing and checkweighing technology, supported by the company’s IDCS II advanced checkweigher data capture system, are helping to deliver speed and accuracy and boost productivity for around 1,000 different mushroom products at leading German supplier Bayerische Pilze & Waldfrüchte Uwe Niklas GmbH.
The company operates five packing lines, all featuring Ishida multihead weighers, handling a range of fresh, frozen and dried mushrooms packed into sealed trays, polybags and plastic cups with screw tops, at weights from 5g to 2.5kg.
The weighers have been adapted for the many different applications and product types. Surfaces with corrugated sheet metal, for example, allow difficult processing of dried mushrooms cut into large slices, while gentle discharge chute angles and short product fall distances through the weighers allow the handling of the most delicate mushrooms
In view of the enormous variety of products offered by Niklas, it is crucial that the company's packing systems are flexible. The manufacturer also handles many small orders, such as gourmet items where a production run usually lasts for only half a day. The simple and quick set-up of the Ishida weighers and their easy-clean, hygiene-friendly design ensure changeovers can be carried out very speedily.
While the weighers deliver an output of up to 3,000 packs per hour, their primary benefit, according to managing director Uwe Niklas, is their excellent weighing accuracy to a maximum of 0.1g above the nominal weight. "One kilogram of our dried product costs up to €300, so obviously we need to be precise during filling," he explains.
Ishida’s latest generation DACS-G checkweighers provide effective quality control at the end of the packing lines, with their wide weighing range and quick format changes ideal for Niklas’s requirements.
The checkweighers feature a high-speed load cell with an accuracy of 0.2 grams, while a special anti-floor vibration system compensates for any external floor vibrations. The extremely robust machines also have a function that automatically disconnects the weigh sensor from the belt in the event of disturbances from outside. Integrated metal detectors offer protection against foreign bodies.
Equally important, the checkweighers are able to collect valuable production data such as downtime, product giveaway, performance and quality, using Ishida’s pioneering IDCS II (Ishida Data Capture System). The data for each individual pack can be analysed and shown on graphs or in tables based on product batches, shifts, operators, products, machines or lines. Displays and reports are user-defined and adaptable, with the parameters accessed online at any time during ongoing production, and monitored in real time. Information is also available via mobile devices. IDCS II is compatible with systems such as SAP or SCADA, and data transfer can be carried out without any problems in programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Adobe PDF.
"The IDCS II software is a small investment that has brought a large benefit, as it directly increases our productivity," says Uwe Niklas. "We regard the overall package with checkweighers and data analysis as an important control function for our head of production, which is very informative from a business management point of view. If the values are not satisfactory, we will immediately make the appropriate adjustments, implement changes to the settings and carry out maintenance work or arrange training.” Ishida has worked with Bayerische Pilze & Waldfrüchte Uwe Niklas GmbH since the installation of the company’s first multihead weigher in 1999.