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From Good to Great: Snellman's Journey Towards the Perfect Minced Meat Packing Line

03 Apr 2020


Grinding, forming and cutting take place at the start of the line. Packing functions include tray supply, a portion-to-pack system, tray sealing, labelling, comprehensive pack inspection and robotic placing of the packs into crates.

The finished minced meat is formed into a continuous ‘loaf’ which is fed onto backing paper and guillotined into portions of the correct weight. Each portion passes over a checkweigher and, when it reaches the end of the belt, is carried by its own impetus into a tray which arrives on a belt just underneath.

Ishida Quality Control System used for Minced Meat
You always have to be trying to do better, to go from good to great, but at this moment I am confident we have the best minced meat operation in Finland.

Electronic signalling and a tray pause-and release mechanism ensure the timing is correct, but the meeting of tray and meat takes place when both are moving at a considerable pace. The light plastic tray could be knocked off course if it were not held in place by a vacuum system under the conveyor belt. This unique Ishida innovation contributes significantly to the high speed at which the line can operate. The tray stream is now split into two, using a diverger, and the twin streams pass into the Ishida QX-1100 Tray sealer.

The QX-1100, with its fast, servomotor controlled cycles and high, twin-lane capacity is another important factor in speeding up the packing process. It also has other advantages: 'With another tray sealer we could expect repairs, including problems with tools, to cost up to €50,000 per year,' comments Marcus Snellman. 'It is already clear that we will only have a tiny fraction of that with the Ishida. What’s more, if someone damages one of the heads, you don’t have to stop production in mid-shift to deal with it. You can isolate that head and carry on to finish the work. It’s also a very quiet machine,' adds Anders Snellman.

After sealing under modified atmosphere, the trays are converged once more into a single stream and top-labelled. They next pass through an Ishida IX-GA-2475 X-Ray Inspection System and an Ishida Seal Tester, on which is mounted a vision system for checking label positioning, orientation and data.

We have found the Ishida team very open-minded, and ready to listen to our suggestions and concerns.

Ishida Traysealing Line for Fresh Mincemeat

Denesting, portion-to-pack, traysealing, labelling and end-of-line crate packing for fresh mincemeat in trays using a complete packing line from Ishida.

The crate-packing function is now carried out automatically by an Ishida IPS pick-and-place system. 'On the new line,' explains Anders Snellman, 'we have just two dedicated workers, while tray and pallet handling amount to the equivalent of half a person or less'. This is partly due to the new tray supply system.

In fact, Snellman was impressed enough with the efficiency of the Ishida inspection and end-of-line equipment to keep the previous minced meat line operating (it now handles the larger pack sizes) and to add the same combination of X-ray inspection, seal testing, vision system and IPS to it. This has enabled similar manpower savings on that line, freeing valuable staff for other duties.

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From Good to Great: Snellman's Journey Towards the Perfect Minced Meat Packing Line