"Having built up our reputation over many years, it is important for us to guarantee the integrity of the loaves and baked goods produced in all our factories, said John Smith, chief engineer at Warburtons. "Using Lock doughweighers in our other UK plants yielded significant cost savings and so, when it came to purchasing machines for our Wakefield and Glasgow sites, we were confident that Lock could guarantee the same accurate and reliable weighing systems."
Installed after the dough rounder and before the first prover, Lock's CK1500 gives feedback servo control to the divider and provides Warburtons with protection against producing under- or overweight product. It can weigh pieces of up to 900g and achieve throughput rates of 9,000 pieces per hour. A high level of precision is delivered, with accuracies for the most common applications at +/- 1gm.
The unit's touchscreen display panel is a key feature for Warburtons. Lock claims that it is easy to operate and interpret, and can display average, actual, over- and underweight data. It can also assist with any problem diagnosis and machine set-up.
The machine's 'auto-tare' facility ensures that any build-up of dough on the belt does not affect weight data.
The reject mechanism on the CK1500 is vital as a faulty device could bring the whole line to a standstill. The "lift and drop flap", purpose-designed by Lock, ensures that all dough pieces which are under- or over-weight or are at invalid pitch are reliably removed from the production line. Rejected dough is stored in a stainless steel bin which is fitted with a Guardmaster safety switch and a "bin full" warning feature for efficient recycling, thereby reducing costs further.
Weighing has become a key concern of food processors in a number of sectors as it is seen as an n accurate means of identifying where greater efficiencies can be achieved. In addition to industrial baking, the meat processing industry has been at the forefront of using weighing to speed up production and cut waste.
Ishida for example has just launched a fresh food weigher that 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.