Developed by Synectic Design, the SY016 is a completely self-contained unit that can measure both strain and temperature, and is capable of working in both tension and compression due to its fully differential input.
According to Synectic Design, the built-in microcomputer calculates a temperature compensated 20-bit value, which is directly proportional to the load.
Load cells can be easily connected into the SY016 via standard terminal blocks, and the data is output to a PC or PLC interface via a serial data connection. The data input into the unit can be transferred and read directly on a PC.
For larger systems the SY016 digital bridge amplifiers can be simply linked through hyper-terminals. A key feature of the SY016 is that it will accept both analogue and digital load cells.
Various competing digital amplifiers require a digital junction box before the amplifier input, when reading analogue load cells. The SY016 does not require such peripheral devices as it can digitise such signals internally.
Weighing has become a key concern of food processors as it is a means of identifying where greater efficiencies can be achieved. Ishida for example has just launched a fresh food weigher designed to increase weighing accuracy and result in production efficiency.
As with many other food sectors, the meat processing industry loses a considerable amount of money from wastage throughout the supply chain. But Ishida's new weighing system is claimed to save meat processors an average of five to 10 grammes of meat per 280g tray, while achieving packing speeds of around 32 weighments per minute.
Payback on the new Fresh Food Weigher system, says Ishida, is estimated to be less than four months.
The Ishida Fresh Food Weigher is also designed to enable the meat process to become more automated. The machine features a linear arrangement of hoppers but operates like a conventional multihead weigher, where a built-in computer calculates all possible weight combinations and selects the one combination of weights in the weigh hoppers that comes closest to the required pack weight.
Weighing has also become an important ID point in the process flow, and a means by which a manufacturer can trace a particular product. Each formulation or batching step within a production order provides an opportunity to identify and/or mark a particular component.
This is especially important considering the traceability regulations about to come into force in the EU. This legislation, which comes into force in the EU in January 2005, states that food manufacturers have to be able to show that they can trace products right through the food chain.
"Traceability is all about record keeping," said Scot McLeod, Ross Systems vice president for marketing, North America. "It means keeping track of raw materials through to shipping a final product, and everything in between."