Traysealer Boosts Efficiencies for Chilled Potato Dumplings
The installation of an Ishida QX-775 traysealer at specialist potato processor Friweika eG has enabled the company to boost process efficiency on its fresh potato dumplings line by 25%.
Dumplings are a favourite treat all over Germany. In order to meet the growing demand for convenience products, Saxony-based Friweika is now producing chilled potato dumplings in a variety of formats – as ready-made dumpling dough in bags or pre-formed in MAP trays – making up to 700 tons of dumpling dough per week, equivalent to around three million dumplings.
To enable the packing process to keep pace with the increasing production volume of the ready-made potato dumplings, Friweika sought to replace its two semi-automatic traysealers with a fully automatic solution. Christian Möhr, head of the value-added department, outlines the company’s requirements: “We wanted a powerful machine with the potential for future expansion that was not only robust but also – importantly – did not take up too much space.”
The Ishida QX-775 Flex traysealer can seal up to six trays simultaneously at a maximum speed of 15 cycles per minute (outside cut, inside cut and shrink film). One of the reasons for the machine’s high speed is that it has separate vacuuming and gassing systems. Modern servo technology ensures a controlled tray delivery and film supply – even at high speeds.
Measuring just 3114 mm length by 1340 mm width, the single-lane machine is also very compact and was easily integrated into Friweika’s existing production line. By comparison, other providers would only have been able to match the performance of the QX-775 Flex with two-lane machines. Another key benefit for Friweika is the tray feed system, which is fitted with plastic belts. The Ishida traysealer can handle all common tray types and films with the use of MAP and allows fast and frequent product changeovers
Friweika currently packs fresh potato dumplings in two tray formats, for which Ishida has designed specially customised tools. The 4-bowl trays (target weight: 500 g) are for sale in supermarkets, while the new 15-bowl trays (target weight: 1.9 kg) are aimed at the foodservice market. This new, large format would not have been possible with the old machines.
The protective atmosphere, which helps to prolong the products’ shelf life, is composed of a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The QX-775 Flex features an integrated gas analysis system for each sealing cycle. The composition of the protective atmosphere is continuously monitored – and if the gas mixture is not as it should be, the system is automatically stopped.
Equally important, the QX-775 Flex combines high sealing pressure with precise control of both sealing time and sealing temperature for each individual pack to deliver high quality packs to maximise visual impact and appeal on-shelf. “We used to deal with flaws like dog-eared sealing seams, but not anymore,” says Christian Möhr.
In addition, the Ishida traysealer offers maximum ease of use for Friweika operators thanks to its automatic set-up and up to 100 pre-sets, while a range of quick-change functions are available for film and tools changeovers. A motorised tooling trolley assists in the process of changing tools and as a tool maintenance station. Operators can remove either the whole tool or just its bottom or top section.
Friweika has derived many benefits from its investment in the fully automatic traysealer. “In the three months since the machine was installed, process efficiency has increased by 25%. In addition, one less machine operator is needed,” says Christian Möhr.
The QX-775 Flex is not currently operating at full capacity because the upstream line components cannot keep pace but, as Möhr states, the current output of 60 dumplings per minute is soon to double. The traysealer has also delivered improvements in the use of consumables. Film consumption has decreased dramatically thanks to fewer waste cuttings.