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Heinz Pet Products stands up to the competition (sidebar)

Heinz weighs benefits of scale systems

Each of the new hf/f/s machines at Heinz's El Paso TX plant is equipped with an identical scale system. Heat and Control customized these systems with extended hopper inserts that orient pieces vertically throughout the filling process. The Ishida computerized weighing system selects the appropriate scale hoppers that together contain the proper fill weight. It then instructs those hoppers to release their product charges.

"The most significant control capability we have on this line is a 'Smart Wait' program that connects the Ishida scales with the Klockner machinery" says Andy Gordon Heinz Pet Products' manager of packaging engineering. "The Klockner machine is able to stop on the fly and momentarily wait for the correct product weighments in the scales and then start up without losing a significant amount of time. And that's a technological advantage. Typically when a machine stops and starts you lose a lot of time. But with the systems' programming the machine does this quickly."

Product is released from the hopper. It travels down a transition chute to a system of gates that collect and time product into a vertical slide-gate timing hopper where vibration further aligns and settles product. This process prevents pieces from stacking on top of one another as they descend into the pouch below. Strips or sticks settle neatly within the pouch with contact sensors determining if product is settled. If not the pouch is rejected and reworked manually.

"You have to control your product and align it if you want to minimize the pouch size and the amount of material you need for the pouch" Gordon tells PW. "That was really the whole intent of developing this Ishida and working with Klockner to make sure it would accommodate this special Ishida tooling."

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