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Aja provides weighing solutions for half vine & loose tomato packers

1 February 2017

Aja has delivered several new ‘profit saving’ weigh packing systems to tomato packers who supply major UK supermarkets. Aja weighing solutions are increasingly becoming the preferred choice for many of the major pre-pack salad, produce & vegetable packhouses in the UK, EU and overseas.

Packing half vine tomatoes to Average ‘e’ and Nett Minimum weight with maximum efficiency and accuracy but with minimum give away & waste is particularly challenging due to the difficulty of matching and combining half vines to tight specifications. In addition, packhouses need flexibility and portability of systems.

Traditional weighing systems require constant re-adjustment of the vines or snipping to get the best weight which leads to low productivity, overfill whether weighing to Average ‘e’ or Nett Minimum Weight and waste or downgraded loose tomatoes, a problem which can directly impact overall profitability.

To minimise labour, speed up the operation and offer a level of automation for dedicated half vine tomato packing lines the Aja Selector Combination Scale takes away the guessing and juggling of vines, with minimal give away, no waste and significantly increased overall productivity.

Based on the standard multihead weigher concept, while one operator feeds the pans with single vines the Selector Scale calculates the best combination of vines closest to the target weight and activates LED lights adjacent to the pans, telling the second operator which ones make the weight to be removed to make the pack. Once these are removed the process is repeated. The calculation is virtually instant and good operators can pack from between 14 > 18 packs per minute with low or zero give away.

Zero give away is achievable in packhouses with four or more Selector Scales which are networked with Aja’s ALTOS Wi-Fi Average ‘e’ Weight optimising software. Altos drives down give away optimising pack weights across several selector scales and provides management with complete control of the packing operation with real time data on operator speeds and give away. This data is generally displayed as Operator Productivity Performance on a large TV screen in the packhouse for all to see.

In packhouses where there is a requirement to pack loose as well as vine tomatoes there may be a need for manual under–over traffic light checkweighers. In these applications the Aja ALTOS software system once again offers the very best give away and productivity.

Aja custom designs the scale/workstation to optimise operator efficiency and product handling. Using its standard weighing unit and operator interface module the Aja team can design a workstation to best fit into any packhouse operation. Standard compact scales are also an option.

Operators are guided rapidly through each weighing operation by a simple traffic light bar graph system. The ALTOS software with automatic pack weight optimising works continually in the background adjusting individual scale target weights to ensure minimum give away while adhering to Average ‘e’ Weight legislation over a given production run or batch. ALTOS is constantly pulling the average pack weight close to the declared weight. Operators are monitored in real time for speed and accuracy and any errors or overweighings are flagged up by a series of alarms.

Typical give away can be as low as 0.1 per cent depending on piece size, and ppm is optimised using best practice designed weighing-packing station. As with the Selector Scale, installing the large screen KPI display adds gives management and staff total visibility of productivity and performance.

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