10 ways to find out
If your facility has had a checkweigher(s) in place for a while, you might want to do some investigating to see if it has kept up with the times. Your plant has probably undergone many changes over the years—in equipment, labor, even the types of products and packaging that are being processed. It might be time to take a second look at your checkweighing equipment and see if it is doing today’s job. And if you don’t have a checkweigher, it might be time you get one.
Is your previously purchased equipment a match for today's operations? Here are some topics to consider:
1. There’s a demand for eco-responsible packaging that's easy to hold, open, use, and reseal. Packaging trends have ripple effects on machinery. Metal can behave differently on the line than a flexible stand-up pouch. Does your equipment provide a seamless transition between stations on the conveyor line?
2. Does your checkweigher talk to the rest of the line? More lines are running multiple products, or products that are packaged the same but labeled for other brands. Communications can change the product on the fly to keep track of each production's lot.
3. Fresh food is becoming more popular. Is the checkweigher exposed to raw food items? Your old equipment that ran canned goods may need to be upgraded to machines that allow washdown. Many food processors are requesting equipment with washdown capability, rated IP69K by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
4. Checkweighers may need to be located further upstream than the last spot on the line. You will be able to catch the anomalies earlier and avoid a bigger problem if multiple machines are placed in diverse spots along the line.
5. What language is used by the labor force? A checkweigher interface should support multiple languages.
6. What is the skill level of your labor force? Interfaces should be touch screen and designed for ease of use.
7. Do you need the bells and whistles? Or are you just looking for the basics to start? It’s hip to purchase stripped-down models and upgrade later.
8. Can your checkweigher store data? Because the checkweigher is one of the last pieces of equipment to touch a product on the product line, the ability to store data is helpful should a problem arise later.
9. Do you need real-time data? Twitter isn't a good choice to monitor what’s trending in your facility, but real-time data provided by the equipment can help identify production problems as they happen, avoiding last-minute problems.
10. Do you need to save space? You don’t have to move your operations into a trendy tiny house, but you may want to consider a combination check- weigher and metal detector that offers both accurate weight control and the assurance that your product is free of metal contaminants. Millennials are good at multitasking, so it makes sense to have two tasks done by one piece of equipment.
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