Ishida’s Versatile 24-Head Weigher Handles Wild Mushrooms

A 24-head multihead weigher from Ishida Europe is providing excellent speed, accuracy and flexibility for Magda, the French leader in frozen wild mushrooms, to help deliver an increase in production of 30%.

The Ishida 24 head, 4-Mix, waterproof model provides an enormous number of weight combinations, offering the industry-leading accuracy associated with Ishida multihead weighers at impressive speeds. This effect is further multiplied by including a set of 24 ‘booster’ hoppers that can save known weights of product unused in one weighment, making them available for the next.

Equally important, the new Ishida can be rapidly configured to weigh a single mushroom variety or mixtures of up to four separate products. In any mixing situation, it can be set up to weigh the most expensive product with particular accuracy. For a four-mix product, Magda is currently filling packs at up to 65 per minute.

The Ishida has three-litre hoppers in embossed stainless steel, a surface which discourages sticking or build-up of added ingredients such as herbs, garlic or shallots.  It is located over a vertical bagging machine and operates in a packing hall at sub-zero temperatures, with the product being fed from Magda’s 23,000m2 cold store (capacity 2,000 tonnes) at -24°C.

Given the wider range of flavours available in wild mushrooms, and the expertise involved in selecting and handling them, each whole or part mushroom reaching the Magda packing operation has a value which is not negligible. Overfill can rapidly eat into profits, one of the reasons why multihead weighing is so much favoured among mushroom suppliers.

As Patrick Chalamet, Factory Director at Magda’s packing centre in Pierrelatte, south-eastern France, recounts, “I’d known about Ishida for some years and I turned to this manufacturer again when assembling a list of four suppliers to tender for a new multihead weigher. The Ishida was not the cheapest. However, I reached my decision by comparing the test data from each weigher, most notably when it came to accuracy, bearing in mind that we work with expensive raw materials, and the speed we were looking for.”

Magda’s staff have found the Ishida weigher, with its intuitive touchscreen interface, simple to learn and operate, whether for single products or mixes. They are also impressed with how simple it is to clean the weigher, which has easy lift-off/drop-on hoppers and radial feeders and is waterproof to IP66 rating.

Management, too, is pleased. “For my part, this investment will allow me to meet my short-term production objective,” says Patrick Chalamet, “which is an increase of 30%.”