Baking Business details the importance of accurately scaling and weighing snack packages in a 2019 article. “Accurately scaling and weighing a snack or bakery item before it gets to the store is crucial. Not only does data from these machines match the amount of product with the desired size, keeping companies in compliance, but it also helps them pinpoint areas upstream and downstream where systems can improve, lower cost and reduce waste to provide overall consistency.”
Both vertical scaling and checkweighing verify the precision of the item’s weight, but some differences must be accounted for in order for uniformity to be guaranteed because of variations in movement. Vertical scaling entails weighing products as they enter the packaging equipment, and as Paul Webster, product manager of packaging and distribution at TNA says, “Product characteristics, film thickness, film material, bag air fill, modified atmospheres, back seal type, end seal length, and local regulation on minimum weight or average weight declarations are amongst many other things that will all have to be taken into consideration. Ultimately, product testing is always the best indicator of performance.”
Horizontal weighing systems also verify consistency and discard inconsistency which makes the ability to identify product giveaway on checkweighers essential. Jeff Heath, VP of business development at Doran Scales, believes that companies should determine their own rejection requirements and that in order to minimize the amount of rejected product “the operator perform a one-time calibration for each product weighed — taking 20 to 30 samples to determine the variance or average weight. That information is used to set the desired tolerance plus-minus of that target weight.”
Packaging also affects the speed. While larger packages might be affected by air drafts across the checkweigher, smaller packages can actually be lifted off the machine. As Mr. Heath explains, “as bagged items become more popular, in-motion weighing has responded with designs that can compensate for these and other issues. For example, the Selecta in-motion checkweigher saves this information and keeps the selected target weight along with the desired tolerance plus-minus of that target weight. Because the system can weigh at a half-gram tolerance, the product weight can be very precise — even at high speeds.”
The Doran Selecta system comes in multiple belt sizes – 500mm x 300mm; 400 mm x 250mm; 300mm x 200mm – which allows for the weighing of the smallest to the largest package on a line at the fastest speeds.
Finally these systems affect the bottom line. Unreliable equipment equals unidentical products. It’s important that these machines become more flexible as efficiency increases and companies continue to attempt to lower costs. As this equipment changes, so must the software associated with said products. As Mr. Heath states, “You want the system to drive efficiency and productivity and not be a weak link in the production process. Producers should consider how checkweighers function within the production system and how they can improve overall operations and lower costs.”
NSM offers a full slate of items for the food and beverage industry as well as a multitude of other industries. Please contact us to see how we can assist with accurately scaling and weighing your items.