The Unilever company is one of the world’s most important branded goods manufacturers. Each day, 2.5 billion people use Unilever products. With 400 brands in over 14 categories, no other company touches the everyday lives of so many people in so many different ways. The 25 small symbols – tucked away in the logo – show the company’s numerous business areas. Production ranges from foodstuffs and cosmetics to body care, as well as household and fabric care, products. The company has 161,000 employees in over 100 countries around the world.
Its fundamental principles include beneficial relationships with suppliers and business partners. So it’s not without good reason that the company relies on multihead weighers from MULTIPOND for weighing a diverse range of products. A new type MP- 36-400-400-C multihead weigher has recently been acquired for the site in Heilbronn, Germany. Gunter Löffler, Project Engineer, justified the decision: “The MULTIPOND brand stands for the highest level of quality worldwide. Our past experience has been all good, and so MULTIPOND was our first choice from the outset.”
Thanks to its multi-flexible design, the multihead weigher is able to gently weigh a highly diverse range of products, from mushrooms and vegetables to powdered products such as instant soup ingredients or ready-to- use products.
The system operates based on the principle of combining partial portions. The product is supplied from the top level of a MULTIPOND cross head feeder, which in turn feeds the multihead weigher. Once at the top on the weigher, the product is first conveyed to the prefeed hoppers via the radially positioned feed trays and then to the weigh hoppers below. Using the partial portions, a computer determines the best combination to achieve or come closest to the targeted weight. The finished, precisely weighed portions are then discharged into the the timing hoppers via the two outlets and finally to the floor-mounted form fill seal machine. Maximum accuracy and availability are ensured by the calibration systems integrated into each proprietary load cell. MULTIPOND is the only manufacturer of multihead weighers anywhere in the world that offers this solution. The system works fully-automatically, continuously and without production interruption.
The target weight is up to 70 g, the achieved mean value, the decisive criterion for the existing giveaway, actually corresponding to the target weight to be achieved.
Due to the output potential of the downstream packaging machine, the weigher runs with an output of up to 220 weighings per minute. The 28-head weigher originally offered by MULTIPOND would have been adequate. However, Unilever had already considered future plans in the machine design, hence the decision for a 36-head weigher. In the long-term, the packaging machine is also to be replaced to be able to utilize the full output potential of 240 packs per minute.
Because the product is changed several times a day, it is vital that all product- carrying parts can be removed quickly and easily without tools for cleaning and maintenance.
The systems are controlled and operated using a convenient color touchscreen monitor. Easy-to-use controls make working with the systems uncomplicated. According to the employees, learning to operate the machines is quick and unproblematic – an important criterion for Unilever.
Simple operation, precise weigher results and faster speeds create an ideal platform for further optimizing the company’s processes. The weigher was designed to allow special dust enclosures to be retrofitted at anytime. During the weighing process, products such as soup ingredients, powder or granulates in particular whirl up a huge amount of dust, and this collects on the units.
According to Gunter Löffler, Project Engineer, the cooperation between Unilever and MULTIPOND is incredibly smooth: “Having solutions that are tailored exactly to the conditions and requirements of our production facility is extremely important to us. That’s how we know we are in the right hands with MULTIPOND. Ultimately, the conditions differ from product to product. In case of problems, we contact the specialists at MULTIPOND and get the perfect solution within the shortest possible response time.”
MULTIPOND has been an owner- managed German company since the very beginning. Drawing on more than 70 years’ experience in industrial weighing technology, we are a pioneer in this sector. Our success is based on the high quality and excellent technical standard of our weighing systems. We consciously commit to a high level of vertical integration, as well as production exclusively in Germany. Customer focus has become our corporate maxim. A team of more than 300 employees commits worldwide to offer our customers from the food and non-food sectors optimized, unique solutions tailored exactly to their requirements at all times. Sales, project planning and service are handled by the headquarters in Germany, by the four subsidiaries in France, the Netherlands, England and the USA, and by a worldwide network of agents.