Quality control solutions from Ishida Europe are enabling one of Slovakia’s leading spice suppliers meet the increasingly strict standards of retailers.
Thymos, based in Veľká Lomnica, has recently installed an Ishida IX-GN-2443-S X-ray inspection system and two DACS-GN-SE012 checkweighers from the company’s latest ranges, bringing the total number of Ishida machines at Thymos to nine checkweighers and four X-rays.
The newly installed models have further enhanced the versatility of the Ishida equipment with the different versions able to handle a wide range of pack sizes, from small 5g retail sachets to larger 1.5 kilo packs for the Horeca sector. For example, the large-size Ishida IX-GA-65100 X-ray inspection system is able to carry out a final check on packed cases of product, including retail ready cases.
The use of X-ray inspection systems as part of quality control procedures is increasingly being required by many retailers. In addition, Thymos’s production process for its spices and spice mixtures, which can include grinding, slicing, breaking and crushing of the products prior to packaging, is carried out in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) as well as to HACCP and other relevant regulatory requirements, and X-ray inspection helps to ensure that such high standards are continually maintained.
The IX-GN model is checking for contaminants in the very small pack sizes at speeds up to 90 packs per minute (ppm), thanks to the use of stainless-steel curtains which move so smoothly that touching them has no effect on the packs, meaning that they remain securely on the belt during the inspection process. In addition, the latest models incorporate Ishida’s drop belt reject system, which can quickly and accurately remove any out of specification packs from the line while maintaining high throughput speeds.
The high speeds of the Ishida equipment are helping Thymos meet a huge increase in demand for its products over recent months – up some 40% - as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant growth in home cooking among consumers.
Equally important, Ishida’s unique GA (Genetic Algorithm) technology, which enables the inspection operation to be optimised for greater sensitivity to specific foreign bodies, offers excellent detection capabilities, being able to identify unwanted items such as stainless steel (down to 1.2mm), glass (2.4mm), stone (2.0mm) and rubber (3.0mm). The technology uses image data analysis over a number runs to build up a more precise calibration protocol, which allows permanent or recurring defects to be easily identified during the inspection process.
Thymos originally turned to Ishida when the company’s existing checkweighers needed replacing owing to their failing performance.
“We were very impressed with our first checkweigher and its accuracy and reliability has meant that we have continued to invest in Ishida as our business expanded,” explained Thymos’s Purchaser, Technician Štefan Kiška. “When we needed to source X-ray inspection equipment to further enhance our quality procedures, Ishida was the natural choice and again we have been more than satisfied with our decision.”
At Thymos, the Ishida equipment is in operation on average 16 hours per day, but this can increase to 24 hours during peak times such as the run-up to Christmas.
“The Ishida equipment is easy to set up and operate,” continued Štefan Kiška. “Service support from the company is also excellent and if we do have any problems, these can usually be quickly resolved by a call to the company’s local help desk.”
Thymos was founded in 1993 and the company’s spices and spice mixtures currently have around a 32% share of the Slovak market. In addition, Thymos exports its products to the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.