Blankedale counts on Ishida to improve speed and accuracy

New packing solution delivers high levels of accuracy, ease of access and excellent reliability

The attractive entry level purchase price of Ishida’s CCW-SE multihead weigher – and the impressive increases in accuracy and speed that it delivers – were key factors in the machine’s selection by leading Belgian contract packer, Blankedale, as part of a specialist packing line for yeast tablets.

Founded in 1965, Blankedale offers optimal employment and development opportunities for disabled people. In particular, the company is able to support processes in the food industry that are difficult to automate, owing to high flexibility, the specific customised requirements of the packing process or seasonality of the business. In this way, it provides jobs for people who might otherwise find it difficult to obtain traditional employment.

As part of its operations, the company uses packing equipment to help its employees in terms of making their working practices more ergonomic and user-friendly, and Ishida’s Belgium agent, BRN, has for many years devised and installed bespoke solutions.

Yeast tablets are a popular health supplement, providing a valuable source of vitamin B. They are available in a range of pack sizes and formats including glass jars (40, 100, 160 and 200g) and metal tins (275 and 300g).

Prior to the installation of the new line, Blankedale had used a counting machine. However, this was very slow, achieving no more than 15 packs per minute for the 100g jars and requiring a double lane configuration on some sizes to improve throughput.

BRN devised a single line solution delivering an overall speed of up to 50 packs per minute, depending on pack format. In addition to the ten head Ishida CCW-SE-210-S-20-PB weigher, the line comprises a transfer system from the existing accumulation table, an infeed conveyor with accumulation control (which controls the amount of product at the infeed of the filling carousel), an intermittent motion and servo driven starwheel that presents the different pack formats underneath the weigher, a vibrating unit to reduce the fill level, and an outfeed conveyor to the existing labelling unit and lid applicator.

The weigher delivers accuracy to within 0.8% of target weight compared with around 3% with the previous system. The open layout of the new line ensures ease of access, while just one operator is required to control the entire process including capping and labelling. Pack changeovers are simple to implement via the weigher’s easy-to-use remote control unit, and Blankedale reports that the machine offers excellent reliability.

A key challenge of the installation was the discharge of the weighed tablets into the various packs, particularly the 40g jar, which has a small 29mm opening relative to volume, meaning filling could not be achieved using a traditional timing hopper and distribution system.

Instead, the Ishida weigher incorporates an innovative ‘stagger’ feature that improves product flow and minimises blockages by staggering the product discharges from the selected weigh hoppers in each combination. In addition, BRN devised and installed a special parabolic transfer chute, the shape of which maintains the flow of product and reduces blockages to practically zero. This has enabled overall packing speeds to be almost doubled compared with the conventional filling system.

'The co-operation during this project has been excellent and the installation went very smoothly,' comments Luc Govers, General Manager of Blankedale. 'Despite the fact that a tailor-made solution can sometimes be time-consuming, the line was delivered on schedule and start-up took place only a couple of days after the initial setup. The results have been excellent and bode very well for the future.'

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