Ishida weighing technology is delivering the pinpoint accuracy that is enabling Poland’s leading manufacturer of cereals to achieve excellent productivity and brand consistency across its wide range of granola, muesli, flakes and directly expanded products.

Sante’s factory in Sobolew, near Warsaw, produces over 100 tons of cereals per day.  The company currently has 20 Ishida multihead weighers, the most recent of which are two 16 head booster hopper models in a three mix configuration, capable of handling up to three products separately for discharge into the same pack.

The introduction of Ishida multihead weighing technology to replace the linear systems previously used provided a number of major benefits for Sante.  Accuracy improved immeasurably, with giveaway reduced from around 1g per pack to within 0.1g.  At the same time, the multihead weighing process ensured that the different ingredients in each product were more effectively mixed together, whereas the linear method caused the ingredients to lie in individual layers within the pack.

Just as significant, says Sante’s technical director Paweł Kander, the accuracy of the Ishida mix weighers means that recipe consistency is achieved for every different product type.  “As the market leader, ensuring our customers get exactly what they expect in every single pack is an essential part of our success,” he explains.  “This high level of consistency minimises the risk of customer complaints.”

Equally important, the weight accuracy has also enabled Sante to control costs through the removal of giveaway on the more expensive ingredients, such as dried fruits and chocolate.

A unique feature of the Ishida weighers at Sante is the special design of the radial feeders that handle the chocolate products.  The company had found that the normal feeder design caused chocolate pieces to build up, resulting in too-large amounts being despatched into the pool and weigh hoppers.  To solve this problem, Ishida engineers devised a special V-shaped design that provides greater control of the feeding process.  In addition, embossed surfaces and Teflon coating for the weighers’ contact parts help to keep the chocolate and other slightly sticky ingredients moving throughout the weighing process.

The Ishida weighers are handling a variety of target weights from 50g up to 1kg. Individual weighments are then combined and despatched via a timing hopper into a variety of pack formats including sachets, block bottom bags, doy and pillow packs.   Speeds are around 55 – 65 packs per minute across all formats because, although the weighers can operate more quickly, speeds are governed by the bag makers.  Another benefit of the Ishida mix weighers is their ability to handle single ingredient products as well as two or three mix varieties.

“It is essential that we can be as flexible as possible to meet the changing demands and requirements of our market,” confirms Paweł.

Careful production planning at Sante means lines are dedicated to individual products for long runs, but changeovers can be carried out very quickly with settings stored and called up on each weigher’s remote control unit.  The weighers can also be easily dismantled for cleaning, with wash stations located close by.  

The factory typically operates 24 hours a day, five days a week, with the Ishida weighers delivering the excellent reliability required to maintain this production schedule.

The Sante factory also features Ishida checkweighers combined with Ceia metal detectors on each of its production lines, the latest of which are Ishida DACS-W-030 models.  The new Ishida checkweighers have been set up to achieve the desired accuracy while the use of short infeed conveyors minimises the floor space. As well as accurate monitoring, the checkweighers feature Ishida’s pioneering IDCS (Ishida Data Capture System), a powerful software tool that captures the data from every pack that passes across the checkweigher to generate real-time displays, and reports which can be used as compliance data.

Currently, IDCS provides a valuable additional quality control function, allowing Sante to confirm to its customers that any sub-standard packs were removed from the packing process.  In the future, Sante intends to implement more features of the IDCS software, including production screens, to enable it to carry out additional monitoring to help improve overall efficiencies.

Paweł Kander says that the Ishida weighers are excellent quality machines, and their accuracy and efficiency is helping to deliver fast payback – as little as one year on some lines.  However, he also cites the strong relationship which Sante enjoys with Ishida’s Polish agent Fenix Systems as being just as important in the company’s continuing selection of Ishida equipment.

“An initial purchase is based on technical specifications of the machine and its price,” he points out.  “After that, the level of service and support from the supplier becomes an equally critical consideration, and with Fenix we have enjoyed a very fruitful partnership and the company continues to give us excellent service and back-up, which is a very important part of any subsequent purchasing decision.”