The speed and accuracy of an Ishida multihead weigher has helped a leading Italian bakery reach a global market.

The Ishida 14-head model with 5 litre hoppers  has enabled Oropan S.p.A., based in Altamura, Puglia, to triple production of its range of small breads and rolls, while increasing efficiency rates on the packing line by 5% and reducing rejects due to under- or overweight packs by 20%.

The new range of 11 different specialist small breads, including Ciabattine, Rosette, Tartarughe, Kaiser and Filoncini Integrali, are being packed into both bags, which are sold fresh locally and frozen for export, and into thermoformed trays for part-baked items, which are also for both local and international sale.

The Ishida weigher incorporates a diverting timing hopper that is able to feed both the bagmaker and the thermoformer. For gentle handling of the product, which avoids any damage to the rolls or excessive crumbing, the weigher features bancollan inserts in the hoppers and a bancollan lining in the discharge chute.  In addition, the discharge chute is divided into six sections to help direct the breads into the timing hopper, while a ring gate helps to break their fall.

Currently the Ishida system is handling around 2,200 packs every hour but this is well within its capabilities and therefore provides Oropan with the capacity for further growth in the future

The line also includes an Ishida DACS checkweigher for final weight checks.  This features lockable and liftable castor wheels to enable it to be moved between the bagging and thermoforming lines as required.


Prior to the installation of the new line, bags were filled using a counting machine and the thermoforming trays by hand, and the accuracy of the Ishida weigher has delivered a major benefit as commercial director Francesco Forte explains:

“Because the individual piece weight of each bread roll can vary quite considerably, the counting method created a lot of weight variation.  Thanks now to the accuracy of the Ishida weigher, we can produce packs to a fixed and consistently accurate weight.”

The flexibility of the weigher has also enabled Oropan to widen its range of pack sizes – whereas previously the company packed the breads into just a 500g pack, now it also offers 300g and 400g bags.  “And what is particularly important is that we are getting consistency across all these pack weights” says Mr Forte.

With 11 different product varieties, the ease of use and programming of the Ishida weigher has been another major bonus.  In addition, the line now requires just three people to operate it, as opposed to five previously.  Operator feedback has been very positive.  “The machine is easy to set up and changeovers can be carried out very simply,” says Mr Forte.  Oropan also operates a strict hygiene regime with regular cleaning of the weigher both before and after each production run.  Reliability has been impressive too, with no stoppages due to performance issues reported to date.

Careful planning of the installation of the new line, with Oropan working closely with Ishida’s Italian agent ITech, ensured that there were no problems and everything came together very easily.

“We set out to increase our speed and efficiency and reduce the rates of over and under weighing, and the new line has certainly achieved these aims,” concludes Mr Forte.

“Thanks to this, we have been able to bring take our products into the global market.”

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