Weigh of the World
Ham processor achieves optimal precision with the next-generation multihead weighing technology
For one long-standing MULTIPOND customer, a renowned German manufacturer of meat and sausage products, quality, craftsmanship and innovation have always been the three core pillars of a sound business philosophy driving the family-owned company’s growth for three generations.
As a leading supplier of pre-cut ham cubes, used as meal ingredients or topping across a broad range of popular meat dishes and recipes, the company has long made extensive use of multiple-head weigh scales manufactured by MULTIPOND Wägetechnik GmbH, a family-owned German manufacturer of industrial weighing equipment for over 70 years.
With the increased focus on food safety in recent years around the world, it was always in the cards that the two companies would remain in close touch.
“In recent years, there has been heightened consumer awareness about product safety, quality and hygiene,” says the ham processor’s technical manager, explaining the company’s recent purchase of MULTIPOND’s new MP-30-1000-400-J model multiheaded weigh scale for precision weighing of the diced ham chunks.
According to both companies, the plant’s limiting height of only 4.5 metres was the greatest challenge for this project, making it imperative to account for every single millimeter in the planning stages.
In fact, after installation the gap between the upper end of the system and the ceiling ended up being just a few millimeters.
“This was a very special equipment construction project,” recall the technical manager.
“From our previous experience, it was clear that only MULTIPOND would be able to do this.”
In operation, the diced ham is transported onto the platform via an inclined belt conveyor, supplied by Gröneweg, while another feed conveyor transports the diced ham onto the MUTIPOND weigher.
According to Mutipond, the new J Generation multihead weigher is of the company’s latest machinery range developed specifically for use in food production areas with extremely high hygiene requirements.
“The weigher’s hygienic design was, without doubt, another big reason for our decision to go with MULTIPOND,” the technical manager notes. “MULTIPOND is always a good step ahead of the industry here as a whole.”
Once the diced ham has arrived on the weigher, it is first conveyed to the pre-feed hoppers by radially positioned feed trays, and then directed to the weigh hoppers underneath.
Using the partial portions, a computer determines the combination that comes closest to hitting the 125-gram target weight for the individual portion.
All product contact parts are precisely adjusted to the production requirements and the properties of the diced ham in order to guarantee a smooth product flow.
The weigher is controlled and operated using a convenient color touchscreen monitor, while the fully automated calibration of the proprietary load cells ensures the highest accuracy and availability through the integrated calibration in each weighing cell.
According to MULTIPOND, it is the only manufacturer of multihead weighers worldwide with the unique ability to automatically calibrate itself while running.
The 30-head weigher is equipped with a three-way outlet, with a motor-driven timing hopper installed under each of the outlets to transfer the ham portions to the downstream transfer system.
The gimbal-mounted transfer system is equipped with a special Gröneweg-made reject mechanism designed specifically for this application—acting as an the interface between the weigher and packaging machine.
The system’s swivel hoppers distribute the weighed portions into the 6×3 format hopper, after which the patented “Rise and Fall” 6×3 format distribution unit ensures that the portions are transferred correctly into the trays of the downstream thermoforming machine, and that the sealing seams remain dry throut the filling process.
The entire system was designed for an output of 12 cycles of 18 packages per minute, with the target weights of the final packages ranging from 75 to 125 grams.
The mean value achieved, a decisive criterion for the give-away, corresponds exactly to the target weight, with the standard deviation for 125-gram of target weight being about 1.3-gram.
The hygienic design of the weigher is the basis for fast and simple cleaning, and all J Generation multihead weighers have protection class IP 69 as standard.
Naturally, the weigher undergo a complete wet-clean process daily, during which the enitire weigher is placed under water.
The quick and tool-free removal of product contact parts effectively reduces the system’s downtime for cleaning and maintenance work to an absolute minimum, while a Gröneweg wash wall, also installed on the platform, further simplifies the cleaning processor.
“Drawing on its long-standing experience of weighing the most difficult products, MULTIPOND was at our side offering a wealth of knowledge,” notes the ham producer’s technical manager. “Our extremely positive experience with MULTIPOND in the past was yet another key decision factor for our selection.
“This weigher is now the fifth multihead weigher from MULTIPOND at our plant.
“All MULTIPOND systems at the plant run almost fault-free and are completely reliable,” he adds, citing “excellent on-site service” as another decisive plus point for MULTIPOND.
Employing over 250 people worldwide, MULTIPOND services a diverse global client base in both food and non-food sectors, with each installed system tailored to the customer’s exact requirements.
According to MULTIPOND, “We consciously commit to a high level of vertical integration and production. Customer focus has become our corporate maxim.”
All of MULTIPOND’s sales and project planning and service are handled by the headquarters in Germany and one of four company subsidiaries operating in France, Holland, U.K. and the US. In Canada, the company’s products are distributed by Abbey Equipment Solutions of Burlington, Ont.