Solutions built on advanced technology

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ishida

The new RV-series of multi-head weighers offer more for the same price
The new RV-series of multi-head weighers offer more for the same price
The world's most advanced multi-head weigher, is the bold claim from Ishida Europe for its latest bit of kit, which makes its debut at the Total Processing & Packaging Exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham (June 4 to 6).

But it's not an idle claim and forms part of the Japanese equipment manufacturer's strategy of staying one step ahead of the competition as far as technological developments are concerned. It's all about end users getting more capability for the same price.

"It offers higher speed and higher accuracy than ever before,"​ claims Ian Atkinson, Ishida's business manager for multi-head weighers. "With the RV series we are pushing new boundaries in levels of performance … but no difference in price."

The RV-series is also claimed to have a more robust design, be simpler to use and allow remote diagnostics. At the same time it offers higher speeds (210 weighs/min), accuracy and efficiency (99.8%). Its energy use is reduced by 20% compared with previous models.

It also features the latest process and electronic control systems, all designed to improve productivity, through higher yields and reduce giveaway through more accurate average weight control.

While Ishida is primarily known for its top of the range multi-head weighers, with an installed base of 40,000 around the world, it has expanded its portfolio over recent years.

It now supplies check weighers, graders, tray sealers, intelligent packaging systems and X-ray inspection equipment, right through to the complete 'turn-key' production cells. It also develops software and it is just testing out the latest version of the Ishida Data Capture System (IDCS II).

Full production lines include the Ishida Flex-Line, a modular, integrated flexible packing line for pre-formed trays. This can feature an integral robotic packing system.

The UK is a very important market for the company and Mike Heffernan, Ishida's sales director for core products, estimates it represents around 10% of its total sales, growing by about 20% a year over the past three years.

Despite the downturn in the UK economy, "we have maintained a strong position as a company"​, says Heffernan. He attributes this to Ishida staying ahead of the game as far as equipment development is concerned.

Heffernan expects the equipment replacement market to remain a strong area of activity for the Ishida and believes the introduction of the RV-series will boost this area of activity.

"We are all driven by price and being able to charge more is more difficult these days,"​ he remarks.

Solutions business

"The growth of our business over the past two to three years has been on two tracks,"​ says Heffernan. "The core track – multi-head weighers, checkweighers and X-ray – then the other side of our business that has driven a lot of the growth is the solutions business."

"We make the whole portfolio of products with the capability to provide a full line,"​ says Steve Jones, Ishida's general manager responsible for product marketing. "We have a dedicated project management team."

Installations are supported by simulation systems to ensure applications are optimised. "We can prove any customer requirement right here,"​ adds Jones.

This is all backed up by the company's technical support teams, that ensure equipment continues to operate as intended, with minimal downtime.

Ishida offers preventative maintenance programmes – something that is of increasing importance to food firms, which often lack the necessary in-house engineering expertise these days to maintain their equipment in peak performance.

To ensure it can meet increasing demand for its services, Ishida – which celebrated its 120th anniversary last month – is in the process of expanding its equipment assembly operations in Birmingham.

Charge transfer control

Ishida boasts of being a preferred supplier to a number of multinational companies, especially in snacks. Its latest innovations in this field include a new auto-splicer for snack bagging that removes the need to change rolls of film, and a charge transfer control (CTC) for use with its Atlas range of machines for bagging snacks.

According to Ishida, by altering the way products fall into bags, CTC provides a 20–25% improvement in the speed of bagging, while handling snacks more gently.

"It really is a fantastic opportunity for customers to improve their productivity,"​ says Simon Ruffley, Ishida's business manager for snacks packaging solutions.

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