Table Talk Pies was founded in 1924 by two Greek immigrants who sold fresh pies from a horse-drawn wagon. Now, this third-generation, family owned food manufacturer produces more than 250 million pies a year across three facilities in Worcester, Mass. Their fruit and dessert pies are sold under both of their Table Talk Pies brand and private labels throughout North America.
When installing a new packaging line, the pie maker needed a reliable checkweigher, so they reached out to Mettler Toledo Hi-Speed—already knowing the brand’s reliability from using them on their other lines.
“Back in 2019, we were installing a new line and needed a great checkweigher—an accurate and low maintenance workhorse that could keep up with our long hours,” says Brian Clough, automation engineer at Table Talk. “We’ve relied on Mettler Toledo checkweighers for years on our other lines, so we went straight to them for our new system. The C33 is one of Mettler Toledo’s latest models and a newer version of our older checkweighers. Our sales rep, Mark Stewart of Flo-Dynamics, recommended this system, and we’re very happy with it. Not every checkweigher can keep up with our 250 pies per minute line speed, but the C33 doesn’t even break a sweat.”
Clough says that checkweighing is an absolutely essential step “when you’re a processor committed to the highest quality product.” He says, “Most importantly, we always want to make sure the customer is getting the amount of pie we promise on the box. But we also don’t want to give away too much product, since that comes straight out of our bottom line.” He says that checkweighers also help alert them to potential problems elsewhere on the line. “If we start seeing weight issues, we examine the upstream machinery to see if there was an incorrect adjustment or equipment failure. It helps keep things running smoothly.”
Table Talk’s C33 checkweigher inspects their 4-inch pies, which have been flash frozen for transport and packed in cardboard clamshells. Checkweighing is the final step on this packaging line. “This is a great checkweigher all around. The C33 is accurate and reliable,” says Clough. “A big factor for us is how little unplanned downtime it’s needed. We run it six days a week, 18 to 20 hours a day—that’s a lot of time! But our C33 has no problem keeping up.”
The checkweigher identifies and rejects overweight and underweight packages while maintaining an accuracy of up to +/- 0.05 g. It is capable of running at speeds up to 300 units per minute and can inspect products from 7g to 7.5 kg in size. Packages that do not pass inspection are automatically removed from the line with a pneumatic reject device, also from Mettler Toledo.
“Our (checkweigher) was a piece of cake to install. We were able to download the settings from one of our older Hi-Speed checkweighers and upload them onto the new C33, even though it’s a different model,” says Michael O’Connell, maintenance manager at Table Talk. “It’s also very easy to clean and maintain. We do a light spray washdown daily and check a few parts like the bearings and belt tension, and then we’re good to go.”
The unit is equipped with an optional TCP/IP communication capability, so they can connect it to their plant-wide network and send weight data directly to their central PC. “We haven’t had the chance to set this feature up yet, but we’re excited about its potential,” says Erica Alfaro, QA supervisor at Table Talk.
“Monitoring and documenting real-time weight data is part of our continuous improvement program, since it helps optimize our processes and ensure we’re always putting out a high-quality product.”
It also has a user-friendly touchscreen and simple programming. “We really like that all our Mettler Toledo checkweighers have similar software, so it’s easy for our operators to switch between the different machines with no additional training,” says Peter Bailey, production lead supervisor at Table Talk.
“We’re in the process of building another huge new facility right now, and we plan to go to Mettler Toledo again for more checkweighers. Our next one will likely be a bigger system with a push-arm reject device to handle our larger, 8-inch pies,” says Clough. “All our Mettler Toledo Hi-Speed checkweighers, including our new C33, operate consistently day in and day out, even in our high-demand environment.”
For more information, visit www.mt.com/pi.