A new weighing system allows manufacturers to ensure that finished food packs can be weighed in wet areas with net filling quantities starting from 5g.
Mettler Toledo, a manufacturer of precision measuring instruments, said its IND469rem terminal and KA3s/KA6s scales work in conjunction with its FreeWeigh.Net Statistical Quality Control system to address the challenge of precision weighing in wet areas.
Production areas are made 'wet' through the washing down of appliances and machines to maintain hygiene standards. Products most likely to be weighed in wet areas are meat, dairy, ready meals, salad packages and convenience foods.
Increasingly, manufacturers today are demanding networked quality control for their products and evaluation of filling quantities.
Special measuring instruments are needed for quality control in environments with strict hygiene requirements. Mettler Toledo said it has already responded to this demand in developing the PC-based FreeWeigh.Net Statistical Quality Control system, which enables central monitoring and evaluation of filling quantities.
The new IND469rem terminal coupled with the KA3s/KA6s scales, connected to the FreeWeigh.Net quality control software, are designed to offer quality control in wet areas. The terminal is connected to the FreeWeigh.Net network via an Ethernet Interface or via WLAN.
The terminal and scales have a stainless steel housing ensuring that the equipment is waterproof and dustproof, which the company claims is ideal for a wet environment.
The terminal has an extremely fine stainless steel surface and can be cleaned with high pressure cleaning equipment. It complies with hygiene guidelines issued by the EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group) and NSF (US Public Health and Safety Company). The scales can be rinsed with cleaning products.
According to Mettler Toledo, some other scales have not been able to withstand the wet environment because they are not made from stainless steel or are not waterproof. They become damaged quickly so become inaccurate and need replacing on a fairly regular basis. To avoid damage they are sometimes located away from the production line, so picking up errors and making adjustments becomes more difficult, said the firm.
The company claims that the accuracy of its scales allow for compliance with labelling regulations for finished packs. The system is designed to alert manufacturers if the quantities are inaccurate. The scales have a Weights and Measures approved resolution starting from 0.1g.
This also allows manufacturers save on unnecessary overfilling costs, said the firm.
Mettler Toledo explained that some manufacturers have a tendency to overfill to avoid the risk of underfilling. If they can save one or two grams per product this adds up over the year, especially if material costs are high.
According to Simone Zimmermann from Mettler Toledo, the FreeWeigh system can pay for itself within a year or even less.
Mettler Toledo said it has the "ideal weighing system for connection to the FreeWeigh.Net quality control software. These devices are …a great way to meet high-precision and strict hygiene requirements".