Upgrade to Rice Lake Advanced Weight Transmitter

Rice Lake Weighing SCT-1100 and SCT-2200 signal conditioning weight transmitter is a small, DIN-mounted indicator featuring theoretical or weight calibration and an easy-to-navigate menu.

SCT-1100/2200 Advanced Series Signal Conditioning Weight Transmitters

Theoretical calibration: Enter deadload or capture zero with theoretical calibration, which is ideal for use in environments where traditional calibration isn’t practical.

Quick-start setup menu: For a quick setup, this feature prompts you through basic configuration and calibration, analog setup and inputs/outputs.

Rice Lake tools: Rice Lake Tools is a user-friendly PC application that allows users to calibrate the scale and upload, download and save parameters.

weight transmitter

Additional Benefits of the SCT-2200 When Using a Fieldbus Protocol

Hub mode: With hub mode, 16 units are able to be connected to just one protocol module, making installation easier and cutting costs.

Web server: A web server provides calibration, zero and tare functions as well as remote weight viewability through PC control. The server can be used to access all units in the hub.

Calibration from a PLC: Using a protocol for calibration eliminates the need to physically access the SCT. Zero capture, span capture and linear points can be performed using the protocol.

You can read more about Rice Lake’s SCT-1100, SCT-2200 and other weight indicators online at Central Carolina Scale.com. Please complete our Request a Quote form if you’re interested in receiving a quote or additional information about these weight transmitters. 

How to Create a Remote Scale System

A remote scale system uses two weight indicators to allow users to access scale functions without having physical access to the primary indicator, or “local” indicator. Historically, to create a remote scale system, a technician needed to add a second weight indicator to a scale and run the load cell signal to both indicators. Only one indicator supplied the scale with excitation; each unit was calibrated independently and operated as a separate system.

Today, however, creating a remote scale system has never been easier, thanks to remote indicator capabilities. To form a remote solution, a scale is paired with two digital weight indicators: a primary indicator, or “local” indicator, and a secondary “remote” indicator. The local weight indicator, connected to the scale, transmits a string of weight data to the remote weight indicator, which displays the weight with limited independence. This forms what is known as a remote scale, or secondary scale.

When weighing functions occur in more than one area, a remote scale can prove useful—in some cases, it may even be essential. Remote scales are ideal for environments such as a scale house and a front office, or a control room and a process floor.

Remote scales provide numerous benefits, including:

Access to weight data from a distance
Ability to perform scale functions without having physical access to the local indicator

Despite the advantages of remote scales, it is important to consider that some functionality may be limited. Before implementing a remote scale system, take note of the following:

A key press on the remote indicator will initiate basic weighing functions like zero and tare, performed by the local indicator. Not all functions may be supported or initiated from the remote indicator to the local indicator, such as keyed tares or setpoint values.
Printing at the remote location may or may not be supported by the remote indicator. Some remote indicators have printing capabilities, but others simply forward the command to the local indicator.

When it comes to printing with remote indicators, consider whether a tare weight is included with the transmitted weight from the local indicator. Typically, only gross or net weight is transmitted to the remote indicator, so a ticket that shows gross, tare and net information may need to be printed by the local indicator.
Databases are almost always resident in only the local indicator. Remotely accessing a database may be prevented for a number of reasons. If specific records are entered during the transaction, those will need to be entered at the local indicator.

Another method of setting up a remote scale is using a scale webserver. A scale webserver is a server that allows a local indicator to communicate scale data that can be read on a network, through a PC or a handheld device. Typically, weighing functions can be performed at these remote locations, just like at the local indicator.

Whether you opt to form a remote scale system using local/remote indicators or a webserver, remote scales can streamline your process and increase accessibility. Central Carolina Scale offers a variety of weighing solutions. Optimize efficiency in your process with a Rice Lake indicator. Call our sales team at (919) 776-7737 to request a quote today.

Impacts That Factor in the Price of a Truck Scale?

A couple of years ago we discussed the ever popular how much does a truck scale cost? Today, we answer a similar question. What factors impact the price of a truck scale?

When purchasing a large piece of equipment, such as a truck scale, it can be hard to look past the price tag. However, to ensure you are investing in quality equipment that will last your business a generation or more, it is important to understand the factors impacting total purchase price. Elements such as design, craftsmanship, components and foundation of a truck scale all impact the final purchase price.

Truck Scale Design

Although the weighbridge (the structural body of a truck scale) can have varying designs depending on the manufacturer, it performs the same basic function across all brands and models: weighing trucks. Manufacturers who use a wide flange I-beam weighbridge design often have a higher steel content in their truck scales than manufacturers who utilize bent plate or steel tubing designs.

The number and size of beams in a weighbridge can also impact steel content. Designs that place larger beams closer together offer more support for vehicles than designs with smaller beams placed further apart. The support from larger beams means the deck won’t bend as easily, so the truck scale will provide accurate weighments for a longer time.

To better understand the cost of the truck scale steel content, divide the cost of the scale by its shipping weight to get the price per pound of the scale. This can be used to compare the price per pound of similar scales from different manufacturers. You may find the scale with higher steel content actually costs less on a price-per-pound basis.

Value in Scale Quality

Quality craftsmanship also contributes to a truck scale’s integrity. Purchasing from a company that invests in engineering and manufacturing ensures that there is a highly skilled team behind each and every truck scale.

The components that make up a truck scale are just as important as the team behind it. Companies who take the time to source high-quality load cells, steel, cables and other components often have a higher quality product.

Truck Scale Installation

The installation of the truck scale will also impact the final price. Installation includes excavation, the cost to pour the concrete foundation, off-loading and positioning the scale, installing electronic components and performing the initial calibration of the scale.

The truck scale installation should be performed by professional scale technicians who have experience working with scales from the manufacturer you chose. This expert installation will ensure proper scale operation and reliable weighments over the life of the scale.

A truck scale is a significant investment, and design, quality and installation all impact the final price of a truck scale. Choosing a truck scale with a heavy-duty design, superior engineering and components backed by industry experts gives you a scale that will last for a generation or more.

For more information on purchasing a truck scale, please contact the Central Carolina Scale heavy capacity sales department by calling (919) 776-7737.

Brewery and Beverage Manufacturing Equipment Co. Uses Cardinal Scales in Process and Packaging

In the case study below, we take a look at how a brewery and beverage company that manufacturers equipment for that industry, uses Cardinal Scale equipment in its process. The company that is featured in the case study chose Cardinal products for various reasons, one important reason was the wide range of products that Cardinal offers which allowed the company to utilize Cardinal Scale products throughout and not have to contend with multiple different brands of scales.

Cardinal 190 indicator

The systems provided by IDD provide answers for operations such as keg cleaning, sanitation and filling, flash pasteurization, bottling, and their HEBS (High Efficiency Brewing System). IDD manufactures these intricate and precise equipment systems to meet the distinct needs for their many customers in the beverage industry.

IDD’s reach extends all over the world. While primarily servicing America and Canada, IDD Process and Packaging, Inc. ships to Western Europe and as far as countries in the Oceania area, such as Australia. The burgeoning craft brewery and distillery movement in America and Canada provides IDD with a great deal of business opportunities; however, they are not limited strictly to beer and spirits. IDD delivers expertise in more traditional beverage production, such as grape juice, to more exotic and contemporary drinks, like kombucha and cold-brew tea.

To round out the design of a few of their systems, owner Jeff Gunn researched scale manufacturers to compare products lines and breadth of products. Cardinal Scale was capable of providing the load cells he preferred, along with the digital weight indicators meant to complete filling functions for keg, grain, and yeast managements systems, plus the scales themselves. “Cardinal Scale provided all of the implements that I needed within one company, and that influenced my decision to go with them,” said Gunn.

Cardinal Scale products are featured in Squire Keg Systems, Grain Handling Systems, and Yeast Management Systems. For the Squire Keg series, Cardinal Scale’s model EB-300 scale is coupled with the 190 STORM indicator. The EB-300 weighs the keg that can be moved on a roller platform, and the 190 provides the weight preset programming that is invaluable to precision filling. The Squire Series system can fill up to 30 kegs per hour.

The Grain Handling Systems and Yeast Management Systems utilize Cardinal Scale’s 825 or 225 weight indicator and the company’s TCBSS1KM-4 load cell kits. The TCBSS1KM-4 load cell kits provide the durability and precision needed to take on filling of grain augers, mills, and hoppers or multi-tank yeast propagation systems. The 825 or 225 weight indicator guides the more complex filling functions associated with the aforementioned tanking systems.

So as you can see, the robust product features of the Cardinal Scale Manufacturing lineup of products was a key ingredient in the success of the featured company in the case study. With more than five years of business between the two entities, both the companies are poised to achieve even more success in the beverage industry.

You too can enjoy this same level of success for your business. Contact our sales department to discuss adding load cells under your tanks or adding digital weight indicators to your scales that can collect data that you can then analyze in a spreadsheet on the computer.  Call (919) 776-7737 to get started.

Important Changes to Rice Lake 920i Display & CPU Board

The Rice Lake Weighing Systems 920i digital weight indicator has been an extremely successful indicator. It’s been utilized in thousands of different applications with accurate and reliable results. But as we all know things change and technology improves. So Rice Lake is making a few updates to the 920i which should allow it to continue to be a great choice for your scale needs for years to come.

To make the 920i programmable weight indicator even more robust and further extend its life, Rice Lake Weighing Systems is now manufacturing the 920i with enhanced display and CPU boards. These changes offer several benefits and are essential to ensure availability of components needed to continue manufacturing the 920i in the future.

ENHANCED DISPLAYS
As of February 1, 2018, Rice Lake began manufacturing the 920i with a technologically improved LED backlight display. While this change may go unnoticed, it affects the replacement part process.

If a 920i was built prior to February 1, 2018, and needs a replacement display, Rice Lake recommends replacing the old fluorescent backlight display with a new LED backlight display.

 

LED BACKLIGHT DISPLAY PART NUMBERS

LED backlight display
board (transmissive) …………………. 186275

LED backlight display
board (transflective)………………….. 186276

LED backlight only …………………… 187677

 

A new power supply cable must also be installed during this replacement:

                                                            AC POWER               DC POWER
Universal models ……………………………186464                        186464
Deep Universal model………………………186278                        187603
Panel mount models ………………………..186278                        187603
Wall mount models ………………………….186760                        188345
Two-slot expansion for
Wall mount models …………………………188716                          189424
Two-slot expansion for Panel mount
or Deep Universal models …………………188717                        189425
Six-Slot expansion for Wall mount………  188774                             N/A

Please note, fluorescent backlight displays are temporarily available if an upgrade to LED is not desired. CPU boards compatible with fluorescent backlights are also temporarily available.

 

ENHANCED CPU
As of June, Rice Lake will begin implementing a new CPU board in the 920i. This updated board (PN 186272, blue in color for easy identification) is compatible with firmware version 4.0 and above, and offers the following benefits:

– Updated power regulation for 5V and 3.3V supplies
– Merged analog, digital and chassis grounding to new industry standard
– Increased transient voltage protection
– Improved signal integrity
– Digital power conditioner for safe shutdown in unreliable power environments

The new CPU board is not compatible with fluorescent backlight displays, please use caution when ordering replacement parts.

rice lake 920i updates

Call the sales / service team at Central Carolina Scale (919) 776-7737 to obtain the 920i indicators and replacement parts that you need. For replacement parts, you will want to have indicator serial numbers handy along with the date that you purchased the indicator.

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

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.