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Europe: Ishida system processes sticky mushrooms

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An Ishida Screwfeeder multihead weigher has completed the automatic weighing process for French mushroom supplier Borde.

The system handled mushrooms that have just been blanched, ready for canning or bottling with improved throughput and accuracy.

Having installed an Ishida weigher to handle its dried and frozen mushrooms, Borde initially selected a weigher from another supplier for its blanched mushrooms.

However, this was not up to the job, because these mushrooms are far stickier than the dried or frozen mushrooms, clinging to feeders and hoppers.

This is made worse by the small pieceweight of the product, which prevents gravity from overcoming the adhesion forces.

The chosen Ishida replacement solution is a 14-head Screwfeeder model, in which the mushrooms are received from the dispersion table into feeder troughs which contain large metal spirals (screws).

These push the product gently but very firmly along to the hoppers.

The dispersion table is a rotating, cone-shaped unit which easily shrugs off the mushrooms falling from the infeed, discouraging sticking and moving them decisively into the screwfeeder system.

When the mushrooms reach the ends of the troughs they fall, channeled by embossed metal shrouds, into non-stick plastic pool hoppers, from where they are released into weigh hoppers of similar construction.

The doors of both sets of hoppers open with a scraping action that prises off any clinging mushrooms.

The system was a ‘drop-in’ replacement for the rejected model, with no changes needed to the infeed conveyors or to the discharge distribution system.

“We have increased production by 20% and really mastered our target weights in terms of both accuracy and consistency, which is crucial, given the expensive nature of the raw product,” says Borde chairman and MD Alain Borde.

For the dried and frozen mushrooms, Borde uses a 14-head Ishida weigher which is mounted on wheels, giving it the flexibility to be shuttled back and forth between the two lines as required.