Food Engineering

Combo Pays Off For Mission Foods

March 26, 2003
Since Gruma S.A. de C.V. of Mexico bought Mission Foods, the regional manufacturer has grown into a nationally recognized producer of tortilla products. To assure product quality Mission Foods installed a "combo" checkweigher featuring a Hi-Speed Cornerstone checkweigher integrated with a conveyorized metal detector from Safeline Metal Detection.

"Before we had checkweighers, we had to pull packages off the line by hand and inspect randomly for proper weight," says Pepe Gotay, assistant plant manager at Mission Foods' plant in Dallas. "Now each and every package is inspected, and those that do not measure up are automatically removed from the line."

"Having Hi-Speed checkweighers has enabled us to significantly reduce product giveaway," adds Plant Manager Tom Stevens. "They allow us to accurately know over- and under-weights and fine-tune our production process."

Mission Foods' plant in Dallas runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility produces a full range of tortilla products including fresh flour and corn tortillas, fried corn tostados, taco shells and tortilla chips. Mission Foods currently runs 14 lines with a 15th line, for tostados, to be added this year. Markets include both retail, institutional and food service, with almost 370 SKUs shipping out of the plant on a regular basis.

The Cornerstone's built-in variable speed drive and quick-release guide rails provide efficient product changeover. A proprietary, microprocessor-based control system allows for pre-programmed product parameters to assist with changeover.

There are nine checkweighers and 12 metal detectors in the plant. Each line is self-contained and controlled with PLCs (programmable logic controller). Mission Foods' long-range plan is to use these PLCs to link the entire plant together, so that all line and production information can be accessed and controlled by central computer stations.