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Stolle and Co, a Germany-based producer of grill-ready chicken, has installed a screw feeder multi-head weigher from Ishida to improve the speed and accuracy with which product can be weighed.

Pre-marinated chicken is a product that requires the hygienic handling benefits of fully automated packing, particularly as it is sold in large quantities at the warmest times of the year.

However, the product is so sticky that it has long resisted attempts to weigh and pack it efficiently and at speed.

Stolle and Co processes fresh and frozen chicken into a range of products, including marinated schnitzels and breast fillets.

In today’s high-volume barbeque market, large retailers specify pack weights, such as 500g, and source them from a number of competing suppliers.

To remain competitive, Stolle needed to carefully control product giveaway, making weighing accuracy a major issue.

This led the company to seek something more accurate than the semi-automated linear weighing system it had been using, and one that could deliver higher speeds than 20 weighments per minute, which was not enough to meet demand.

Ishida supplied its screw feeder weigher, which is designed to handle movement-resistant products.

Part of Ishida’s R-series, the 14-head model is equipped with screw feeders, made of stainless steel, rather than the more conventional vibrating feeders for each weigh head.

Product falls from the dispersion table at the top of the weigher onto the screws.

These rotate gently, driving the product out towards the weigh hoppers in a controlled manner.

The rounded cross-section of the screws and the flexibility of their spiral structure ensure that the chicken is not crushed or damaged.

Additional aids to keeping the product moving are the weigher’s sturdy, non-stick plastic hoppers, which are fitted with scrapers to prevent product build-up.

Stolle’s marinated chicken line has speeded up to 35 weighments per minute thanks to the Ishida.

Accuracy has also improved with giveaway cut by half to between 0.5 and 1.5 per cent.

In addition, the Ishida screw feeder weigher, with its lift-off, drop-on contact parts and its watertight body, suitable for hosing down, enables good hygiene with minimum downtime.

Full changeover cleaning – only required when there is a change in the marinade being used – takes less than 30 minutes.

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