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Light popped snacks pose a challenge for multi-head weighers

Stephan Drees, operations manager of South African Snack company Nibbly Bits

A leading South African snacks manufacturer has reduced product giveaway by as much as 35% following the installation of an Ishida multihead weigher.

Founded in 1996, Nibbly Bits is a major producer of handcrafted rusks, biscuits, cookies and snacks, supplying products for the Woolworths Group and the Granarie Co, its sister marketing company, as well as carrying out selected contract manufacturing.

In 2011 the company opened a new snacks factory producing a range of rice cakes and pop crisps - crisps which are made by heat and pressure (‘popping’ like popcorn) rather than deep frying, to deliver less than half the fat of traditional crisps.

However, the company found owing to the lightness of this new product, its existing weighing equipment was unable to cope, with too many overweight and underweight packs that led to a high amount of product waste.

The solution offered by Ishida is the company’s CCW-SE-214W-1S/20-PB multihead weigher. Handling typical target weights of 20g and 85g, the SE-weigher achieves an impressive weighing accuracy of below half a gram and a weighing tolerance (standard deviation) of just 0.8g for both bag sizes. Equally important, product that was previously wasted is now being placed into additional packs, thus greatly improving production efficiencies and throughput.

The CCW-SE-214 features a weight sensor in the dispersion table that automatically adjusts the product feed, ensuring a consistent supply to the radial feeders. In addition, each feeder can be individually adjusted via the Remote Control Unit to optimise product feed. High quality stepper motors precisely control hopper gate opening and closing profiles for consistent weighing speed and accuracy.

Other benefits of the Ishida weigher are its flexibility and ease of use. The machine is simple to operate, with different product settings stored in its memory for changeovers at the touch of a button. The machine is also very simple to clean when switching between different flavours. Product is packed into pillow bags at 35 packs per minute for the 20g size and 20ppm for the 85g size. Although the weigher is capable of faster operation, these speeds are governed by the capabilities of the currently installed packing machine.

Stephan Drees, Operations Manager of Nibbly Bits:

“The consistency and reliability of the Ishida weigher has created a lot less stress during production. We now have a smooth-running operation delivering highly accurate packs.”

“Visits to various international exhibitions over the years had convinced us that Ishida equipment was the best on the market and certainly we have not been disappointed with our decision to install the CCW-SE-214.”

“And as orders increase, we will certainly be looking again to Ishida to help us manage this growth.”