Digital Scales For WinSPC Real-Time Statistical Process Control Software

Today more and more customers want to not only measure the weight of their products, but they also want to capture that information and send it to their laptop computer for data collection and further analysis. There are several ways to do this, and various software programs to help accomplish this as well. We offer various communication types like USB and ethernet and we offer some of the software as well, such as Doran Excelerator.

But today we wanted to mention the WinSPC software. Quite a few customers over the years have been interested in having their digital scales be able to connect to this real time statistical process control software.

WinSPC basically allows companies to compete in today’s worldwide economy since many manufacturers must constantly discover new and innovative ways to cut costs while consistently delivering the highest quality products for their customers. Now it’s important to note up front that we don’t sell WinSPC. The product does seem to be a really nice software though.

WinSPC provides a proven, effective way for manufacturers to quickly improve quality, reduce variation, monitor production or process changes, increase profitability and more. Best of all, WinSPC runs in real-time, collecting data to deliver real meaningful process information directly to operators or to quality engineers, supervisors, and management. WinSPC is a very popular real-time process control tool of choice for manufacturers that need a top of the line solution because WinSPC provides real time SPC capability than quality modules or other process control software products.

A key requirement of most continuous improvement, Six Sigma, and Lean Six Sigma programs is the ability to access timely manufacturing data. WinSPC’s data collection software enable manufacturers to quickly obtain product and process data from nearly any shop floor source, including: serial devices, text files, machines, gauges, databases, and other manufacturing systems. WinSPC’s data collection features offer the fastest, easiest way for quality engineers to quickly gather manual input, connect to devices, and capture data from other manufacturing sources.

The reason we’re mentioning all of this is that if you’re currently using WinSPC (or you’re thinking of purchasing it) and you need to add some digital scales to your company, give us a call at (919) 776-7737.

Our outstanding selection of Doran Scales can be setup to communicate effortlessly with the WinSPC software. Doran Scales offers RS-232 serial, usb, and ethernet connectivity. Many of these scales are NTEP legal for trade and many of the scales are available in stainless steel washdown capability if needed.

With Doran’s Excel Series Indicators line comes an array of “Value Added Standard Features and Options” for a wide variety of applications. In the scale industry, the RS232 Serial Port has been used for communications between scales, computers, or printers since the introduction of the personal computer. In 2002, PC manufacturers agreed to obsolete Serial Ports over time and replace them with USB communication ports.

Doran 2200CW stainless steel checkweigher

Therefore, today’s computers are not always equipped with an RS-232 port, which makes the use of USB absolutely necessary. There are several benefits to using USB communications over RS232 Serial Ports. These include ease of use, reliability, flexibility, and compatibility.

Virtually every company today has an Ethernet network to distribute email, provide Internet access, share printers, and run enterprise wide software. Customers both large and small can leverage their existing Ethernet and PC hardware infrastructure and extend it to the factory floor. The merging of the administrative, control level, and device level networks makes for a less expensive and more connected data network. The result is an efficient end-to-end flow of data from the plant floor to the front office network, where it can be used to better manage operations.

Adding scales to an existing Ethernet network will not adversely affect the network speeds for existing devices. The speed of 10/100Base-T Ethernet networks that provide up to 100 Mbps communication bandwidth clearly eclipses the requirements for scale communications. A typical scale data string only requires about 200 bits, a tiny fraction of the available bandwidth for Ethernet.

As an example of the speed of Doran’s Ethernet option; The Excelerator Data collection software can monitor up to 20 scales with continuous print into one spreadsheet workbook in real time, while only utilizing 0.004% of the total network’s Ethernet bandwidth. Compare this to loading Google on Internet Explorer, which requires quite a bit more network bandwidth! Utilizing the existing Ethernet network without affecting existing devices makes Doran’s Ethernet communications option extremely cost effective.

The point of this article is to simply let you know that if you currently use WinSPC, or are considering purchasing the software, please keep us in mind when it comes to purchasing new digital scales that can connect to WinSPC software. You can reach our sales team at (919) 776-7737 or fill out our RFQ on the website.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Digital Scales

Food safety is extremely important to all of us. In today’s ultra competitive and fast paced world, it’s imperative that we have laws in place to ensure that the food we eat is as safe as possible.

We hope the article below helps you better understand information about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Ultimately we think this information will highlight the ability of Rice Lake’s washdown products to meet your requirements of commercial processing industries. The FSMA info below not only informs producers about how to meet compliance laws, but demonstrates how Rice Lake scales can help prevent food contamination by the integrity of their construction and design.

For all producers, from the farm to the table, purchasing equipment that meets Sanitary Design Principles (SDP) is considered a mandatory preventative measure by the FDA. Our product offerings that are microbiologically cleanable, hermetically sealed and compatible with hostile environments can greatly assist you in adhering to these strict guidelines.

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law. The FSMA brought a much-needed focus of food safety laws into the food processing industry as well as to consumers, and the general public as a whole.

The signing of the FSMA was arguably the largest reform to food safety in the previous 70 years. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the FSMA “aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.” The key focus being prevention versus reaction in regards to food safety, from all aspects and stages of food—from the farm to the table.

The FSMA was spurred into action from an increase in foodborne illnesses in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report almost 1 in 6 Americans fall ill to food borne diseases each year. Foodborne illness became an issue of public health in the early 2000s, enabling the FDA to set higher preventative standards for food safety and elicit enforcement agencies to hold companies to these standards and contain any potential problems before they become a widespread risk of foodborne illness. To do this, the FDA under the FSMA can order companies to recall when needed.

The primary role of the FSMA is prevention. As noted by the FDA, “for the first time, FDA will have a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, science-based preventative controls across the food supply.” This legislative power ensures all U.S. companies that contribute to the food supply, no matter their size, are subject to the authority of the FDA and their preventative and responding agency.

Under the Prevention section of the FSMA, controls are given to the FDA for the following:

• Mandatory preventive controls for food facilities
• Mandatory produce safety standards
• Authority to prevent intentional contamination

These measures need to be qualified by scientific justifications by the FDA and are enforced by legislation. Under the mandatory preventative controls for food facilities is the addition of a preventative control plan that includes the following:

1 ) Evaluating the hazards that could affect food safety
2 ) Specifying what preventive steps, or controls, will be put in place to significantly minimize or prevent the hazards
3 ) Specifying how the facility will monitor these controls to ensure they are working
4 ) Maintaining routine records of the monitoring
5 ) Specifying what actions the facility will take to correct problems that arise.

Purchasing and using equipment that meets the Sanitary Design Principles (SDP) falls under these mandatory preventative measures as a control to prevent or minimize the possibility of foodborne contamination and disease. Continue reading

Benefits of Cardinal Digital Truck Scales

Cardinal Armor series Smartcell digital truck scales have several distinct benefits to you, the customer. First there is the heavy duty weighbridge design the Cardinal Armor digital truck scale uses. For example, the steel deck has (12) 12 inch eye beams across the scale but most important is there’s no moving parts under the scale.

ADVANTAGES OF A DIGITAL TRUCK SCALE

With a traditional truck scale, when it comes to debris build-up under the scale, that you typically see in landfills, quarries, sand and gravel businesses; all of that debris can cause problems under the scale and cause binding. Then you will be forced to have folks out there power washing the truck scale, trying to get the scale to work properly because safe linkage systems or load cells that are mounted to piers; the debris impedes on that critical weighing process.

This can often lead to down time for cleaning and can also lead to your scale being rejected when being tested by the State weights and measures inspector.

Another key element of the Cardinal Armor digital truck scale is simple connections which can also lead to limited downtime. Most important there is no power running to the scale other than the home run cable, that’s very important. Do you know what lightning, rain, and snow can do over time to the junction boxes of a traditional truck scale? There’s over a hundred and eight connection points in many standard analog truck scales.

digital truck scales

But, with the armor digital system, there’s ten. There’s five wires that plug into the terminal connector to go to the first load cell and there’s five that you simply wire into the weight indicator in fact Cardinal chooses 225 and the 825 as indicators of choice but most important for you; you want limited downtime for the life of the truck scale. Continue reading

Using an Analytical Balance for Laboratory Applications

In this article, you’re going to learn the correct way to use an analytical balance. These weighing devices are much more sensitive, accurate, and precise than larger topload balances or industrial scales. These balances are used for low mass samples, where specific weights are needed. Before using the balance, you need to make sure that it’s level.

To do this, check the level bubble. If the bubble is located within the black circle then the balance is level. If the bubble is outside of this circle then the balance is not level. If you find a balance that is not level, carefully adjust the foot on each corner until the bubble is located in the center. In most cases, you should not attempt to move an analytical balance because they are very sensitive. If you do, then you will want to make sure the balance is still weighing correctly.

analytical balance

Before you start, you should make sure that the inside of the balance is clean and dry. You should also make sure that all of the doors are closed when you are recording your masses. This prevents air from flowing through the balance. These balances are so sensitive that even air pressure can effect their reading. Now you can begin. The balance should already be turned on with a reading of 0.00 grams on the display. If the display says something other than zero, push the “zero” button. This will reset the balance to 0.00.

The display will also indicate the units of mass. The analytical balance can report masses in several units, so you should ensure to set yours to grams in most cases. Make sure your item is clean and dry, and then gently open one of the doors. Place your item inside and gently close the door behind it. Wait for the reading to stabilize, and then record it.

To remove the item, open the door, just as before, remove your item, and close the door gently. Because analytical balances are much more sensitive than top load balances, there are a few extra precautions to keep in mind. You should never put liquid inside the analytical balance unless specifically instructed to do so. If you do have to put liquid in there, make sure you use a container that seals tightly.

If there are ever any spills inside the analytical balance, clean it up according to the manufacturer instructions. It’s not usually a good idea to add a substance to your object while on the analytical balance. A better choice would be to, remove your item, add your sample, and place it back into the balance.

If you need to make multiple measurements of the same item make sure to use the same balance each time. There is a small error associated with each of the balances so using the same one keeps it consistent so that it cancels out in the difference.

For the most accurate results, you shouldn’t handle the sample with your bare hands. You should use gloves or tongs to handle your sample because the oils on your finger can transfer to the glass, which will be picked up by the analytical balance.

You should never lean on the bench when using the analytical balance because this small difference can alter the weight slightly. Make sure that the item that you are placing into the analytical balance is at room temperature. If it’s above room temperature, it can create air currents within the balance and it can also effect the buoyancy of your item by heating the air around it. This creates an error in your results.

Using expensive and sensitive equipment can sometimes leave you unsure of how to proceed but if you follow the instructions that we’ve presented, then you have nothing to worry about when using an analytical balance. If you need assistance calibrating your scientific scale or perhaps you’re looking to purchase additional laboratory balances, please contact the experienced sales and service staff at Central Carolina Scale, call (919) 776-7737.

Concrete Batching: NRMCA, Scale Company, and Calibration

In a concrete batching plant typically all of the ingredients that go into the concrete are measured by weight with certified digital scales. As you can imagine, those scales that are batching and mixing of concrete, need to be calibrated on a regular basis in order to maintain accurate weighing.

At Central Carolina Scale, we have checked and tested ready mixed concrete hopper scales for many years. Over all these years, concrete batching plant calibration procedures have evolved and we have also made changes to adapt to new guidelines and requirements. Whether it’s asphalt plant calibration or concrete batching, we have many years of experience repairing and calibrating these digital scale systems throughout central and eastern North Carolina.

While we don’t sell Command Alkon or Mettler Toledo indicators, we have worked on many systems that include those units. Popular instruments that we offer for sale include the Cardinal 205.

For concrete producers looking to achieve National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) Plant Certification, they need to adhere to the Guidance to Concrete Producers maintaining plant certification. This includes a list of Primary Requirements, Plant Inspector Guide and most importantly to us, the Scale Accuracy Verification guide.

Scale Accuracy Verification
There are some differences in what the scale companies are accustomed to doing in accordance with NIST Handbook 44 and what is required by the NRMCA plant certification and ASTM C94. Some of these differences are described in the Plant Inspector’s Guide.

Minimum quantity of test weights should be at 10% of scale capacity. Aggregate scale capacities will generally govern the minimum amount of test weights required – about 4000 lbs is typically needed. (There may be situations where the plant configuration does not permit the minimum test weights to be used and that has to be verified by the plant inspector).

Test weights should be certified to be accurate to 0.01% of their indicated load within the last two years. This is typically not a problem with commercial scale companies.

Scale checks should be done through range of use of the scales. Scale companies may only verify it through 50% of the scale capacity.

Up through 50% of the scale capacity, scale checks should be done using a build-up test load using a combination of product and test weights in a process called a substitution loading. Scale increments should not be skipped. In substitution loading, product in the scale should only be to the load previously verified – as close as possible.

Over 50% of the scale capacity, strain test loading is permitted. An unknown quantity of product is charged and the incremental weight indication with the test weights is verified. At least two points should be tested in this portion of the scale – through typical range of use.

Scale accuracy requirements (ASTM C94) is the greater of
● ±0.15% of scale capacity (governs at the lower end)
● ±0.4% of applied test load
● If it’s not accurate the scale has to be adjusted.

Maintenance tolerances in accordance with Handbook 44 are stated on the basis of scale divisions (min grad) but are generally more restrictive than those in C94 that state tolerances based on applied load or scale capacity.

A copy of the scale verification data sheets should be obtained to indicate details of the test loads used, test load increments, load indications and load error. A certificate just indicating a scale is OK is not acceptable.

Definitions of load testing, concrete batching plant calibration format, discussions and numerical examples of the scale accuracy verification are available in the NRMCA Plant Inspector Guide.

concrete batching scale calibration

Batching Plant Calibration Frequency

Accuracy checks of measuring devices (scales, water meters, admixture dispensers and moisture probes) should be performed at least once every 6 months.

State DOTs may have a requirement for these to be performed more frequently. The requirement with the greater frequency governs. Documentation of these verifications should be maintained and made available to the inspector during the plant inspection.

Also, scale accuracy should be verified anytime the plant is moved (portable plants), maintenance activities on the plant impact the weighing systems, or when there is a concern on scale accuracy determined from the batch man operating the batching process or the quality of concrete.

For customers throughout the central part of North Carolina, adhering to the NRMCA requirements can be accomplished with the help of the experienced service technicians of Central Carolina Scale located in Sanford, NC.

We have the trucks to handle these requirements and we have the large certified test weights (and small weights too) needed to accurately test your digital scales.

And we also stock a huge amount of replacement load cells, digital weight indicators, load cell cable, and other scale accessories to keep your batching plant up and going year round.

Contact our service department today (919) 776-7737 or fill out the RFQ button on our website for additional information.

How Can I Send Weight Data From My Scale To My Computer?

At Central Carolina Scale we focus on scales and weighing equipment, first and foremost. That’s what we’ve always done. We are constantly working and training to be the best and most knowledgeable scale company that we can be. Now most of that training and on the job training focuses on digital weighing indicators, load cells, scales,  etc… We send scale weight information to various devices such as remote displays.

Customers have always wanted to send weight data from the scale to the computer since personal computers and laptops became prevalent.

send scale weight to computer

So when it comes to sending your scale weight data from the actual digital weighing scale to the computer, how do you accomplish this?

It actually might be easier than you think and it might even be something that you accomplish on your own using our scale equipment and a readily available accessory.

Please note, if you are operating a legal for trade weighing scenario, then you will need to make sure that any software or method that you utilize is legal to use. So for example if you are operating a truck scale and you are looking to send truck weights to your computer, then you will most likely need to utilize a software like Cardinal WinVRS or Rice Lake onTrak as examples.

If you are using a Doran Scales indicator, they have made some great software available for their products. The Doran Excelerator is probably the most basic software that is offered by Doran. It allows weight data to be taken from the scale readout and placed into Microsoft Excel. Doran also has more advanced software packages available.

Cardinal Scale Manufacturing also offers a USB option for some of their weight indicators which makes sending weight data from the scale controller to a USB thumb drive very simple. You can then take the USB stick out of the indicator, load it into your PC and see the weight data on your computer screen.

If you’re using a digital counting scale like the Counterpart for example, Rice Lake has the WeighVault computer software. This is a comprehensive software package that stores and manages data on your PC. With Counterpart you can create custom reports for inventory, threshold, location and more. It is designed for operators with minimal computer experience and managers who require quick and accurate information. Scales can be added or moved on-the-fly without interrupting other scales operating on the network.

Likewise the WeighVault is also available for the CW90 checkweigher. In this case, WeighVault allows CW-90/90X users to add, edit, and access IDs over a network connection. WeighVault surpasses the CW-90/90X’s 50 ID limitation and eliminates front-panel entry of ID parameters. It also collects data as transactions occur, and provides detailed transaction and productivity reports which can be exported to Excel, Word, or PDF.

Now we have talked about all the software above at some point before. But I wanted to also mention a couple of additional choices for end users to consider.

TalTech WinWedge Serial Device Data Collection for serial devices, including meters, balances, scales or any RS232 instrument. WinWedge captures data directly to Excel, Access or any Windows application or web page. It can even send commands out a COM port so you can control your device through hot keys, buttons, or DDE.

WinWedge easily collects data from balances, gauges, meters, sensors, micrometers, barcode scanners, GPS, PLCs, analyzers and other measuring devices and laboratory instruments. It can send the data directly into any Windows program, including Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, and more.

WinWedge is designed to be highly flexible and can easily parse, filter and format your device data to fit your project’s requirements. It can also transmit prompts or commands through the serial port to control your instruments. Winwedge comes in both Professional and Standard versions.

 Setup is as Easy as ONE, TWO, THREE

1. Select your device’s parameters.

Connect your device to your PC’s serial or USB port (installing any necessary drivers) and use the WinWedge interface to select your device’s communications settings, such as the COM port, baud rate, parity, data bits, and stop bits.

2. Define the data structure.

Intuitive, walk-through menus allow you to tailor the data to your needs by splitting the record into multiple fields, filter out certain characters, or format the data to meet your requirements. You can also easily define hot keys and buttons to send serial commands to your device or perform other tasks.

3. Select the mode and activate

Select from either Keystrokes Mode, DDE Server Mode, or Log to Disk, specify the target application or file, and activate WinWedge! Watch as the data from your device “pops” into the Windows application you selected. You can even input the device data directly to a chart or use Excel’s built-in functions to perform real-time analysis.

MicroRidge designs and manufactures a broad range of wired and wireless measurement collection solutions, including WedgeLink hardware and software keyboard wedges. Measurement collection is what they specialize in. They don’t manufacture gauges but they support gauges from a wide variety of manufacturers. The products are made in the USA and support the broadest range of digital & RS-232 gauges, digital indicators, scales, etc….. One nice feature is they provide unlimited and knowledgeable technical support at no charge on all of the products that they manufacture, particularly the keyboard wedge and software keyboard wedge.

What is a Keyboard Wedge?
A keyboard wedge is used when you are trying to get data from some type of measuring device into applications that cannot accept data from a serial port. A software keyboard wedge reads data from a serial port and passes this data to a PC application in such a manner that the application thinks the data is entered via the keyboard. A hardware wedge reads data from digital gauges or RS-232 devices and sends the data to the PC via a keyboard or USB port. The data sent by the hardware wedge looks like keyboard data to the current application. The more common applications that are used with keyboard wedges are Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and other database types of applications.

Software and hardware keyboard wedges are used extensively in data acquisition applications that include statistical programs, spreadsheets, barcode, LIMS, etc. MicroRidge keyboard wedges can accept input data from any RS-232 serial device. The data is then passed to a Windows application in such a manner that the application thinks the data is actually coming from the keyboard.

About Software Keyboard Wedges
The advantage of a software wedge is that it provides much more flexibility in the formatting of data for presentation to the application and control of the target where the data is sent. In addition to transferring the information to the application, the WedgeLink software keyboard wedge can also simultaneously send the information to a disk file. The disadvantage of a software wedge is that your software wedge settings can be changed by your users.

About Hardware Keyboard Wedges
It is not uncommon in a production type environment that a company will insist upon using a hardware wedge rather than a software wedge. An advantage of a hardware wedge is that it is simpler to use because it is more like a plug ‘n play device. In most cases, just plug it in and you are ready to go.

Hopefully this months article will provide you with some resources and ideas when it comes to sending weight information from your laboratory balance to your laptop computer (or whatever your particular needs are). As you can see, there are several good choices available and several choices that will hopefully work for both your budget and your particular requirements. In some cases, you may very well be able to send data from your scale to your computer; and set it up all by yourself with the help of a wedge software.

For more information and assistance for your particular situation, contact our sales department by calling (919) 776-7737 or visiting our website and clicking the Request a Quote button.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Digital Weight Scales

Maintaining a pristine environment is absolutely critical to the success of food manufacturers. Unhygienic conditions within food manufacturing plants can have a potentially catastrophic impact on public health, not to mention the public relations and revenue impact on the company in question. It is not surprising, therefore, that increased consumer awareness and demand has seen safety standards become increasingly rigorous.

It is vital that companies manufacturing weighing equipment for the food industry ensure that the products they supply comply with best practices and meet strict legislative requirements. On a food production line, fast and accurate check weighing is vital to a company’s bottom line – the visibility of weighing data and statistics can help maximize performance and profitability – but the equipment chosen must meet stringent design requirements when it comes to construction and ease of cleaning.

With U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deadlines for small and medium sized companies to meet requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) hitting in late September 2017, the industry is under pressure to deliver high quality food while also meeting the requirements of this new legislation.

The date for registered companies with greater than 500 employees to comply with the first FSMA rule Preventive Controls was September 2016. For companies with fewer than 500 employees, the compliance date was September 2017.

Why is the FSMA being implemented?

The new rules are intended to minimize the serious illness and death that can be caused by unsafe food products, by focusing on preventing food contamination throughout the entire production process.

The link between HACCP, HARPC and FSMA

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic, preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe. It focuses on the hazards that are unique to the product being manufactured, so the concerns for a seafood processor will be different from those of a coffee roasting company.

With the implementation of FSMA, HACCP becomes a part of a food manufacturer’s compliance to Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC). In short, the FSMA act aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

Digital Weigh Scales

This risk-based, preventive approach to food safety relies on data and expertise to pinpoint potential food safety issues along the production, distribution and supply chain. The FDA has advised that facilities should set up a thorough system for documenting internal processes and record keeping, so that they can clearly demonstrate that legal standards are being met.

As a crucial element in most industrial manufacturing processes, weighing equipment for the food industry, can play an important role in FSMA adherence procedures, including, for example:

  • Updating weighing equipment to more hygienic options, such as stainless steel and a fully enclosed cover for easy and efficient washdown.
  • Ensuring that weighing equipment is used effectively: for instance, using checkweighers at appropriate points in the production process to obtain and record production data.
  • Weighing solutions such as the ZQ375 or IP rated bench and indicators can help food suppliers to achieve both backward and forward traceability (be able to identify where all the ingredients came from and where they went).
  • Using the right scales to provide the most accurate, legal for trade weights, to avoid mislabelling and eliminate costly mistakes or re-works.
  • IP69K enclosures ensure instrumentation protection in heavy washdown environments.

Many companies, regardless of size, need to be looking for digital scales and weighing systems to help them to align their current HACCP and HARPC processes in order to meet FSMA requirements.

Heavy wash-down: IP69K

Equipment used in the food processing industry must be able to withstand rigorous wash-down procedures. Designed specifically to kill micro-organisms and bacteria, this heavy duty cleaning process typically uses high temperature, high pressure jet sprays and detergents. The combination of water, chemicals, high pressures and temperatures used in this cleaning process can prove fatal for electronic circuits and instrumentation.

food safety scale weight indicator

The Ingress Protection (IP) rating system is an internationally recognized scale that relates to proven protection against environmental factors such as liquids and solids. A product with the highest rating available, IP69K, offers complete assurance that it has been subjected to a challenging set of tests to ensure protection against penetration of high pressure, high temperature water and dust particles – making it ideal for use in conditions where equipment must be carefully sanitized.

Scales designed to resist extreme temperatures

In the food industry, equipment such as check weighing scales may be subject to rapid temperature change, whether due to operating conditions or wash down procedures. Extremes of temperature inside and outside the enclosure can result in expansion and contraction of gases, which in turn can lead to moisture and humidity becoming trapped inside.

When selecting a piece of weighing equipment for use in the food industry, ensure that the manufacturer has not only recognized the challenges posed by this stringent environment, but also risen to them by incorporating design elements into the structure of the product that will counter issues such as humidity and condensation

 

Eliminating bug and food trap areas

The process of welding two pieces of stainless steel together can have implications for the corrosion resistance of the metal. Ideally, the surfaces of your equipment/scale should be continuously welded within an inert gas atmosphere – helping to ensure that the metal remains corrosion and crack resistant and that there are no edges or un-leveled surfaces that could trap food particles or impede cleaning.

Areas of the product that have internal corners and angles of less than 135° – and which come into contact with food – should have a smooth, rounded finish to minimize food trap areas.

Scale designs should, where possible, avoid flat horizontal areas to stop water from collecting. However, in some applications, offering a flat under structure base design can be more hygienic than open tubular base frames where high pressure cleaning can cause food particles to bounce off the work surface and lodge deep inside the loadcell area, making it harder to clean.

Fully welded tubular designs can also be hard to clean. A welded structure can result in bacteria becoming trapped within the tube and thriving in the constantly changing atmosphere often found within the food industry. Conversely, base designs with flat bases and open corners ensure that any food particles can be quickly and easily washed away during high pressure cleaning.

Threads should be covered and small components such as rubber feet should be well secured and bright blue in color, allowing them to be easily located should they become detached from the scale.

Safeguarding your business

Investing in a new digital check weigher scale is all about safeguarding quality and, fundamentally, profits – underweight packages can lead to unhappy customers, while overweight packages lead to costly giveaway and overweight shipments. When it comes to the food industry, safeguarding quality, profit and reputation must go one step further – selecting a piece of equipment that is fit for purpose is vital.

To maintain food safety and meet the requirements of the act, it may be necessary for many businesses to upgrade to equipment that is more sanitary.

Contact the sales team at Central Carolina Scale, (919) 776-7737 to discuss the products that we recommend.

Cardinal Admiral Series Bench Scales Now IP69K Rated

IP69K Rated for Washdown Weighing Applications

Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Admiral bench scales now feature an IP69K-rated load cell and indicator, so any sensitive electronics are fully protected against close range high-pressure, high-temperature spray downs making them ideal for the food processing industry where equipment must be carefully sanitized.

The Admiral’s heavy-duty stainless steel base is built solidly for high-usage durability. The bright, vivid ColorZONE display changes color automatically as pre-assigned target weights are reached for efficient check weighing.

In environments that require heavy washdowns, such as in the food processing industry, the combination of water, chemicals, high pressure and high temperature can prove fatal for electronic circuits and instrumentation. The Admiral bench scale’s IP69K rating offers the highest protection rating possible.

washdown safe load cell

Built for extreme-use applications in the weighing industry, the 190 STORM’s IP69K-rated polycarbonate enclosure withstands high-temperature (up to 176º F / 80º C), high-pressure wash downs (1450 PSI). The 190 STORM features capacitive touch keys, 1-inch-high clearly visible LCD digits, built-in RS232 communications port, and versatile power options: AC, DC, and rechargeable battery.

The 190 STORM’s bright, vivid display changes color automatically as the pre-assigned target weights are reached. The operator knows immediately when they’ve reached the acceptable weight range based on the amber, green, or red color changes for UNDER, ACCEPT, or OVER weights. NTEP, OIML, and Measurement Canada.

The Admiral’s colorful 190 STORM indicator is positioned at the optimum viewing height and out of the way of the product being weighed. The display tilt feature allows the display to be positioned just right for each operator.

The entire LCD display can be set to any of seven different ColorZONE colors during checkweighing. This exclusive ColorZONE feature takes the guesswork out of the weighing process making the Admiral the top bench scale in the industry.

The Admiral’s polycarbonate and ABS enclosure to the weight display is watertight and allows operation in the harshest of environments while the stainless base and column construction ensure long-lasting durability.

The scale’s 190 STORM indicator features four captive screws in the back panel, so they cannot be lost when unscrewed (important for food processing applications).

Contact the sales team at Central Carolina Scale today. Call (919) 776-7737 or visit centralcarolinascale.com and click the Request a Quote button.

Reducing Food Waste is Becoming an Important Source of Increased Revenue for Commercial Kitchens

According to the USDA, every year the United States wastes an estimated 30 to 40 percent of its food supply. Statista reports that, in 2015, of the USDA estimates, roughly 16 percent of all food waste is attributed to restaurants and foodservice institutions-nearly one-fifth of all wasted volume! This is a huge source of overhead costs, but also a great source of improvement for food service entities to leverage in retaining their hard-earned profits. With food costs rising, waste reduction systems are becoming more important to reduce strain from front-end costs.

Waste reduction companies are taking advantage of this need for tracking inventory and getting more accurate weight counts. DETECTO Enterprise series scales, PS portion control scales, and PZ series wireless ingredient scales are all very important tools to aid the fight to increase inventory efficiency, and ultimately, creating increased profits. The accompanying advances in connectivity-Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth-create a more streamlined process for saving inventory data and yield a precise representation of a facility’s inventory strengths and weaknesses.

detecto food service scale

DETECTO’s foodservice scales are the first line in establishing a solid reduction program. High weight-resolution scales deliver highly precise weights and the associated costs. The ability to audit cooking processes and concomitant prices concretely establishes hard data to analyze. This analysis implementation forms the possible paths to be executed by foodservice management and personnel.

Facilities can track reduction areas, foodstuffs to be saved or discarded, and foodstuffs that can be repurposed. Knowing the usage levels of each product determines which products to reduce and where businesses waste capital. Product usage levels can help businesses push certain menu items and discard those that don’t sell well.

Businesses can more accurately spot and predict trends in their kitchens in a highly responsive manner. With the power to trend waste areas, kitchens can adjust their cooking implementation, labor cycles, use more efficient recipes, and utilize batch cooking to match customer trends. This knowledge can better serve the needs of their customer base and attract new clientele.

The power of an efficient waste reduction system yields amazing results with effort and consistency. Businesses can expect to save significant amounts of front-end revenue, revenue that can be circulated back into other costs and investments. Foodservice businesses large and small can now bolster their earnings and alleviate one of the most costly factors in their respective operations. And it all begins with a weight measurement of the wasted food combined with a digital tracking system for recording that measured waste.

Learn more about DETECTO foodservice scales by contacting the sales team at Central Carolina Scale, call (919) 776-7737 or visit the site at  https://www.centralcarolinascale.com/Detecto.htm

Inspecting and Testing Heavy Duty Truck Scales

At Central Carolina Scale in addition to selling and installing truck scales; we also check, test, adjust, and calibrate truck scales just about every working day of the year. We have factory trained technicians who can troubleshoot even the smallest problem areas like a load cell that might be creeping. We also have certified test weights and a weight cart which allows us to provide the highest level of truck scale service available in North Carolina. When we’re finished doing our scale check, we supply the customer with documentation that shows before and after readings and how much weight we tested the scale with, etc…

However, in quite a few cases, where money changes hands based on scale weight, the state of North Carolina will also check the customer’s truck scale to make sure it is weighing correctly and performing within legal for trade tolerances. The blog post linked below is a field trip that describes a state test in more detail.

The Standards Division checks any scales where “money changes hands.” This would include scales at grocery stores, livestock scales, buffets, agricultural-supply centers, highway patrol weigh stations and scrap metal facilities. Scales are checked on an annual basis or by complaint. The only exception is stockyards, which are checked twice a year.

When consumers bring unwanted appliances, metal debris or even old vehicles to a scrap metal facility the items are generally weighed on a truck scale. At some facilities, this scale can record up to 100,000 pounds of weight. The entire weight of the vehicle, trailer and scrap metal is recorded on the scale. After unloading inside the facility, the consumer then drives the emptied vehicle and trailer back over a scale at the exit and this weight is recorded. The consumer is paid for the difference of the two weights. Depending on the amount of scrap brought in, the amount could be a couple of hundred dollars.
weight cart testing scales

To check a heavy truck scale, Inspector Glenn Farmer uses a six-wheeled, gas-powered, steel test cart. A hydraulic arm is used to fill the cart with certified 1,000-pound and 500-pound weights. For the test, he uses a known weight (the cart plus added weight) and test different quadrants of the scale. A five-section scale would have 18 different test points. There are two different types of truck scales, mechanical and load. To test a mechanical scale, Farmer must move his cart side to side to record weight. To check the accuracy of a load scale, he moves the cart down the center of the scale.

The Standards Division uses National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines to determine tolerance levels on the scales. A tolerance level is the amount of weight a scale is allowed to vary. For a scale that can measure more than 25,000 pounds of weight, the tolerance level would be 60 pounds. A scale that does not pass inspection must be pulled out of service until the facility fixes the problem. “Many times the issue is debris buildup in the crevices of the scale,” Farmer said. “Pine straw, cans and other debris can cause the scale not to weigh correctly.

Our advice to the company is to power wash or use an air hose to clean the area around the scale.” If the scale is still recording incorrect weights after cleaning, the facility may call a scale calibration company to fix the problem. Some facilities will have a representative from their scale company go along with the standards inspector on the day of their inspection. This means that most problems can be fixed immediately, and the facility doesn’t have to endure a prolonged shutdown of a scale if problems are found.

This was a nice write up about testing scales and how important it is to keep your scales weighing accurately. It’s always a good idea to keep your scales clean and weighing as accurate as possible, year round. One easy way to do that is to contact us at (919) 776-7737 and set up a maintenance schedule for your scales. You’ll save money and you will have accurate scales with the regular scale checks.