Ishida helps Prima Cheese’s growing business

Opts for newly launched CCW-AS multihead weigher

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Ishida
Ishida Remains First Choice for Prima Cheese’s Growing Business

The immediate improvements in throughput and efficiencies delivered by a trial of Ishida’s newly launched CCW-AS multihead weigher at Prima Cheese, one of the UK’s largest cheese processors, have led the company to make an immediate purchase of the machine.

Established in 1996, Prima Cheese processes enough cheese every minute for 600 pizza toppings. The company’s factory in Seaham, County Durham, produces around 380 different cheese recipes, and as well as being a leading UK supplier, Prima also exports to over 50 countries worldwide.

Ishida has been a key partner of Prima Cheese since the company embarked on its first phase of expansion in 2008, with the speed, accuracy and efficiency of Ishida weighing solutions playing a key role in Prima’s continuing success and growth. 

The strength of the partnership made Prima the natural choice to test out the capabilities of the new Ishida AS multihead weigher range, which has been specifically designed to offer the highest weighing performance to further increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

“We buy Ishida weighers for their consistency, accuracy and reliability and we were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to assess the new AS version while helping Ishida with their ongoing development work,” explained Prima Cheese’s Co CEO Nima Beni. 

“Very quickly, we realized that the new weigher was making a huge positive impact on the line, helping to deliver efficiencies that increased throughput by between 30% to 40%, and that is why we decided to make it a permanent addition to the factory.”

The CCW-AS is Ishida’s 11th generation multihead weigher and each new range represents a further enhancement and advancement of the company’s original groundbreaking technology. Prima Cheese is similarly managing its continued development.

“We have made major improvements in our operations through our investment programs over the past 15 years,” said Nima. “Now it is a case of gradual improvements, looking to enhance the performance of existing lines, for example, rather than establishing new ones.”

The installation of the Ishida CCW-AS is a perfect example. Replacing Prima Cheese’s original Ishida weigher, the increased speed and accuracy of the new model has resulted in Prima also installing a new cheese shredder and bagmaker to cope with the higher output of the Ishida.

“Our first Ishida was still performing extremely well but, as with any business, it is essential to keep driving forward, and we could see how the new CCW-AS could transform this line and help us set and meet new targets,” continued Nima. 

The CCW-AS is handling a variety of cheeses in pack sizes from 500g to 2kg. Speeds for the 2kg bags are around 30 bags per minute with accuracy to within 0.2g. The line can weigh up to 20 different products in any day, with changeovers easy to facilitate via the Ishida’s 16-inch color touchscreen HMI operator screen.

Another new feature on the weigher at Prima Cheese is the advanced vision monitoring system that incorporates a camera at the top of the weigher to monitor the product feed, with footage viewable on the HMI screen. This saves operators from having to make frequent physical inspections of the weigher.

While cheese is typically a difficult product to handle in an automated weighing system, the CCW-AS features increased control and power of all feeders. This ensures that the perfect amount of product is conveyed to the weigh hoppers, delivering higher efficiency rates.

The CCW-AS is the fifth weigher to be installed at Prima Cheese since 2008 and like the others operates 24 hours, five days per week. Reliability has therefore been a key benefit of all the Ishida models throughout this time.

“I don’t think we have had an issue with any of the weighers in the past seven or eight years,” said Nima. “And if we have, it is more likely to be the result of human error!

“More to the point, we know that in the event of any problem, Ishida will deal with it extremely quickly.

“This is just one example of the great partnership we enjoy with the company,” he concluded. “We receive great support and advice and have machines that deliver consistently and reliably. And this partnership will continue, because, when everything is exactly right, why would I change?”

Prima Cheese is recognized as one of the leading suppliers to the food manufacturing and foodservice sectors, offering a wide range of grated, shredded and diced cheeses, including several exclusive cheeses made to Prima’s precise specifications. 

Ishida is a world leader in the design, manufacture and installation of complete weighing, packing and inspection solutions for the food industry.

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