With increasing costs hitting their bottom lines, food producers are looking for ways to make efficiency gains by speeding up production.
This means the slowest machine on the line determines theoverall output. As a result machine makers have been attempting to make their products faster. Machines must also be easy to clean so as to minimise downtime.
UK-based Stevens Weighing Group says the company's new 'Vantage' check-weigher has a minimalistic design for easy cleaning. A wireless LAN-enabled interface ensures data security is maintained.The wireless connection also means plant managers can more easily move the weigher to different locations in the plant and still maintain communications.
The product can operate as a stand-alone system or as part a network. It is capable of weighing speeds in excess of 200 items per minute with a high degree of accuracy, the company claims.
The weigher can be programmed via a touch screen console or from a a central computer. The unit collects data on average and minimum weight along with statistical process control information.
The weigher then sends reports back to a central computer or secure server. The data exchange is done automatically. A key feature of the check weigher design is that the data modules are notdependent on the system in which they are operating.
Normally such equipment is schedule driven but the 'Vantage' will continue to store and send back data even if there is a data transfer breakdown from the main line.
The 'Vantage' is available with a range of optional reject mechanisms including ram, air blow, push, flipper and a 'Room 101' style conveyor drop system, developed specifically for bakerieshandling dough pieces.
"The catalyst for this investment was the somewhat negative feedback we were receiving from an increasing number of customers, highlighting the fact that they were dissatisfied with theservice and support being provided by traditional check-weigher companies.," Stevens stated.