When every gram counts, HOMANN, a producer of gourmet salads, leaves nothing to chance and relies on dynamic weighing provided by OCS Checkweighers. These systems do not only check the weight of HOMANN’s products, they are also responsible for the detection of foreign objects before the world-famous gourmet salads, dips and spreads reach the plates of the customers. Why these quality checks? Cost reduction and a 100% check of each individual HOMANN product!
HOMANN, the well-known and leading producer of gourmet salads, is based in Dissen, Lower Saxony, Germany. Most people associate the name HOMANN with the delicious meat salad, which the famous German TV presenter Barbara Schöneberger promotes in a catchy spot with the exclamation “Hooomannnnomannn”. However, the product range of the market leader is much broader and includes products such as delicious dips and spreads, superb dressings and savoury sandwich fillings…
For the production of these gourmet products HOMANN relies on dynamic checkweighers and reliable foreign object detection provided by OCS. These systems reduce the need for time-consuming and cost-intensive manual sample checks to a minimum and guarantee the compliance with all legal requirements for pre-packaged products.
For several years OCS has been the number one at HOMANN and several checkweigher solutions can be found in the production lines. Each system is individually designed and integrated into the production line to meet the requirements of the specific application. Hermann Spreckelmeyer, technical manager at HOMANN, is convinced: “At the beginning of our cooperation there were some technical requirements and OCS came up with the best and the fastest solutions to fulfil them.” OCS delved into various forms of packaging, a broad weight range of up to 6,000 g and specific product properties to find the best solutions for HOMANN. For example, there are salads which are not only filled, packaged and weighed at normal ambient temperatures but also at much higher temperatures typical for the production process. Therefore, the OCS metal detector operates in the so-called multi-mode, that means that the system works with different frequencies depending on the type of product.
In the industrial production the available space is often limited and sophisticated solutions to use it optimally are called for. Therefore, OCS has developed a special solution: A four-track system with two metal detectors. Each of these detectors monitors two tracks simultaneously. However, the really distinctive feature is the mechanical design, as all four tracks are joined to only one within a few seconds. This results in a weighing, metal detecting and sorting system which requires extremely little space.
Such a sophisticated and application-oriented solution is the line 3 at HOMANN. In that line North Sea shrimp salad is filled into cups of 125 g by a WALDNER six-track cup filling machine. After the cups are sealed, six cups at a time come to a belt and are guided to a so-called accumulation conveyor which retains the products before an inkjet printing head prints the best-before date and the batch number onto them. At HOMANN it was important that the sides as well as the bases could be printed. Therefore, OCS used a flat belt conveyor with separate belts which provided enough space for the integration of a printing head.
The printed cups reach so-called acceleration conveyors. These conveyors have two separate belts which leave enough space for the ink to dry. The acceleration conveyors separate the cups before the OCS checkweigher HC with integrated metal detector weighs them and scans for foreign objects. Due to hygienic requirements the system has a special, IP65 compliant stainless steel design. This includes a stainless steel Weigh Cell, stainless steel motors and stainless steel conveyor bodies which allow for the highest hygiene standards. A speciality is the custom-made stainless steel rejection bin which can easily be removed and cleaned within seconds.
During the weighing process the OCS checkweigher constantly communicates with the filling machine and plays a pivotal role: It controls all six filling heads. In track one the products are marked with an invisible, UV fluorescent dot. In the subsequent production steps these cups can be identified and due to the order in which the cups reach the checkweigher the cups can be matched to the filling heads. An ingenious technical solution, as a tendency of one filling head to over- or underfill can directly be compensated by a control signal to this specific filling head. In addition, the checkweigher provides filling head specific statistics so that a documentation of this data is always at hand.
Products with incorrect weight or contaminations are reliably rejected. The North Sea shrimp salad cups are now ready for their journey to the packaging machine and for their distribution to the refrigerated shelves of our supermarkets.
HOMANN has specifically opted for solutions provided by OCS Checkweighers. Hermann Spreckelmeyer is convinced: “OCS knows what we need and the systems always work reliably. We have found a partner who provides a full service and who always has another technical ace up the sleeve.”