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Ishida Data Capture System improves production reporting procedures

Ishida Europe has supplied Maître Prunille, a major producer of dried fruit, with three different multihead weigher models in order to handle a wide variety of products while meeting demanding speed and accuracy specifications.
Maître Prunille is a European leader in dried fruit and nuts, and the world’s third largest supplier of prunes. Half of its 50,000 tonne annual production takes place at its Casseneuil site, located in the ‘Prune Heartland’ of southwest France, which packs both soft-dried and dried fruit into ‘stand-up’ bags.


Casseneuil handles over 4,000 products so very frequent product changeovers are inevitable. All three models at the plant are designed to avoid product and debris build-up, making cleaning very easy, which is important to optimise the products’ taste.A high-speed Ishida RS-Series weigher with 14-heads was recently installed at the plant to handle moderately sticky products.
 The RS is Ishida’s mid-range model, and, thanks to the latest combination calculation hardware and software, runs at speeds that most top-range competitive weighers are unable to exceed. Because the RS makes more weight combinations available during each weigh cycle, the RS-Series is also very accurate and will seldom, if ever, need to select a weight outside the specified range, thus guaranteeing –within small margins- the same weight in each bag of dried fruit.
 The weigher model at Casseneuil is fitted with a ring gate in the discharge chute to ensure that all product discharges reach the bagmaker in short, concentrated doses.For products that can readily be delivered to the weigher using an elevator, Maître Prunille has also selected one of the new Ishida Screw Feed multiheads. This 14-head model, from Ishida’s top-of-the-range R-Series, uses rotating screws to convey the product into the weigh hoppers. Despite the power of this mechanism to move even the most resistant products, it is also quite gentle, an important factor to maintain the appearance of the fruit in each bag.
The Screw Feed weigher offers the benefits of superior accuracy, particularly important with high-value products, and impressive speeds.In addition, the weigher’s heavy duty 1.5 litre plastic hoppers with scraper gates facilitate a consistent, non-stick product transfer into the weigh hoppers and subsequently into the bagmaker underneath. The latest weighers installed at Maître Prunille join two existing Fresh Food Weighers (FFWs) from Ishida Europe, which were supplied to handle sticky fruit, particularly those that are difficult to feed smoothly.
The Fresh Food weighers’ weigh heads are arranged in a straight line, instead of the circular configuration seen in conventional multihead weighers. Operators manually deliver the products from boxes or crates onto an easily reachable infeed table and break up any obvious clumps before charging a set of belt feeders with roughly equal amounts of product. The belt feeders transfer the product to a set of 12 hoppers. The built-in computer then selects those hoppers (usually 3-4) whose combined weight comes closest to the desired target weight. The two 12-head FFW’s work in tandem to deliver product to a single vertical bagmaker.“I was looking for a solution that corresponded in a realistic fashion with our specification,” explains Philippe Moutier, Process Director for all the Maître Prunille sites. “This is the right choice because Ishida also brings to the table insights which will help us with future developments in many areas, including planning and hygiene”.
Torsten GieseIshida Europe Ltd
11 Kettles Wood DriveWoodgate Business Park Birmingham B32 3DBUK
Tel: 44 121 607 7700Fax: 44 121 607 7740
Email: torsten.giese@ishidaeurope.com  www.ishidaeurope.com