Automating salad layers

A prominent British food company supplies a very big supermarket chain in the UK with fresh and convenient salads. The salads consist of four ingredients, eg, shredded carrots, shredded lettuce, corn and prawns deposited into a transparent plastic bowl in a four-layer presentation. Earlier, the UK company weighed and deposited the salads into the bowls by hand. However, the costs resulting from this process were significant - partly due to very high levels of give-away caused by the lack of precision in the manual dosing process and partly due to many man hours.

To keep up with the urgent demand, the company required higher levels of efficiency, lower costs and a much larger capacity. Implementing an automated weighing system for the layered salad bowl line has reduced give-away, reduced manual labour requirements and boosted output.

Bilwinco delivered a complete weighing and packing solution including four multihead weighers, type BW110W - one weigher for each ingredient. Two product lifts with two columns for elevating/lowering of four Eurobins feed the different products onto the weighers. Four filling tools deposit the weighed out portions into the bowls that advance to the filling station on a two-lane conveyor. The weighers handle 20-80 g portions at speeds of 55-60 bowls/min.

The four multihead weighers are mounted on a hygienic platform specially designed for easy cleaning and the high hygiene requirements of the food industry. The weighers withstand high-pressure cleaning, which ensures an efficient cleaning process.

The Bilwinco weighing and packing system provided full automation of this very labour-intensive production line.

Immediately, production output increased with a fraction of the original labour force.

Improvements were noted with regard to the pack presentation. A much higher level of precision in the filling of individual ingredients into the salad bowl and much improved reduction in spillage have also justified the investment made on this installation.

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