Ciaran Murphy: In July 2017, the Food Standards Agency released plans under the programme Regulating our Future, which details a change in the way food businesses are regulated, placing more responsibility on food producers. Coupled with retailer code changes, this means that all manufacturers must have a consistent approach to their food production operations, from processing to weighing, packaging and, finally, quality control. Providers like Ishida Europe, with its expertise in the food sector and experience in all stages of the manufacturing process, can ensure that equipment selection and personnel training are focused on achieving optimal overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) for a particular application.
Ishida's weighing solutions include computer combination multihead weighers that come in a variety of forms and capacities that cater for food applications, from poultry to snacks, while packaging solutions cover anything from bags to modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) trays. Ishida's quality inspection systems focus on foreign body and leak detection, as well as dynamic-weighing confirmation to complement these weighing and packaging products.
Options for foreign body detection include metal detectors and X-ray technology. Metal detectors can come in multifrequency options that are typically ideal for dry and/or low-salt applications. They can also come in multispectrum choices that offer better metal sensitivity detection, and are ideally suited for wet products or those with some moisture. For foreign body detection beyond metal, there is X-ray technology that can be used to detect any foreign bodies with a density greater than water (1g/cc), such as stones, glass, ceramics and bones.
Ishida works closely with its customers to understand the challenges that they face, aiming to improve their efficiencies and overall profitability. The business is continually scouting for new packaging and quality control technologies that will assist its customers. This has created a range of new solutions, from the laser-based AirScan (MAP) leak detection to the force-dislocation technology used to protect load cells in their dynamic checkweighers. Increasingly - and in line with customer requirements - Ishida is moving away from just providing weighing/packaging and quality control equipment to offering solutions for data management and control. The business now offers a range of data collection tools that, together with industry 4.0 and the internet of things (IoT), are aimed at improving overall operational efficiencies.
The drive towards automation - and the efficiencies it offers - is scheduled to continue and, according to some forecasts, the growing use of automation could lead to an increase of around 25% in output between 2020 and 2025.
Ishida is increasingly offering data packages across its complete process lines, including the Ishida Data Capture System (IDCS) - which helps to improve OEE - and Sentinel, a service that is targeted at maintaining operational uptime through remote monitoring and diagnostics. These machines and data-capture systems allow food producers to take more control of their automated facilities.
Ishida considers itself to not just be an equipment supplier, but rather a solution provider that stays with its customers on their journey towards improved efficiency and profitability. This entails having a long-term partnership that provides the equipment, tools and training required to achieve our customer's desired goals. From our very founding, we have had a three-way harmony as our guiding philosophy; a critical part of this is that our customer's success is our ultimate target and goal.