Ishida automates chicken wing weighing

19-06-2009 | |

A unique bespoke adjustment to its latest CCW-R multihead weighers has enabled Ishida Europe to help German poultry processor Emsland Frischgeflügel GmbH increase capacity and reduce product giveaway by automating the difficult process of weighing fresh chicken wings.

Emsland Frischgeflügel in northern Germany specialises in the processing of chicken legs, wings and breasts. The chicken wings are packed into trays and are supplied to various discounters and retailers in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Previously the wings were counted and weighed by hand using scales – both a slow and time consuming process. Automating the weighing process initially appeared to be impossible as the chicken wings, which are handled at a temperature not exceeding 2ºc, are quite sticky and consequently do not flow easily. In order to meet the target weight, Emsland always had to operate with a certain amount of giveaway per tray.

Ishida Europe facilitated the planned process automation. The two 14-head weighers from the CCW-R series utilise the combination weighing principle by assembling partial weighments from any of the 14 weigh hoppers of each machine to meet the target weight of every weighment consistently and as accurately as possible.

In order to perfect the system’s flow, Ishida engineers equipped the weigher with a non-standard device – the addition of small wheels to the weighers between the radial feeders and the pool hoppers, on which the wings glide smoothly and consistently.

Conveyor belts bring the wings to the top of each machine where they are fed to the top of the weighers via discharge chutes. The radial feeders are equipped with a self-regulating vibration system to ensure an even product flow. In addition, digital cameras monitor the product feed to both weighers.

The accurately weighed product – in target weights up to 1,000 g – is forwarded through a chute to a conveyor belt leading to the filling and sealing station. Each packing line achieves an output of 25-30 trays per minute, while product giveaway has been radically reduced.

The weighers have proved to be a great time and labour saving addition to the factory, as each multihead requires only one operator and changeovers to a different target weight involve little more than pushing a button. The wide-angled touch screen monitor and the logical, straightforward and user-friendly interface mean that the multihead weighers are extremely easy to use. Another benefit is that hygiene levels are easy to maintain, as the weighers can be conveniently cleaned without the use of tools.

Source: Ishida

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist