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

Doran Scales Updates 7000XLM Digital Weight Indicator

Doran has been manufacturing digital scales for forty years. This milestone was a great reason for them to take a look at their indicator lineup and make some adjustments. One of the biggest changes is a focus on Made in the USA quality. They have actually been able to source many more of their components from USA sources. In fact, according to Doran, if you buy a 7000XL with a 10″x10″ base and column, all products in that build were sourced from USA vendors. That’s pretty impressive in today’s competitive environment.

doran scales built in America

Another change that Doran has made is to replace the 8000XL bench scale and digital weight indicator. Actually, this is not a surprise since the only real difference between the 7000XL and the 8000XL was a battery. So if you were a fan of the 8000XL scale or the 8000XLM digital indicator, then all you need to do is order a 7000XL with optional battery.

Doran challenged the design team to update the indicator line. Doran’s engineers have been working overtime to update our indicator line starting with the 7000XL and 8000XL. Not only that, the purchasing department found ways to bring many items back to the USA. Doran is proud to announce that they will be building many of their products in their plant in Batavia, IL again. They are sourcing metal including indicators, columns and most platforms from superior stainless steel producers in the USA. Touchpanels and boards also come from USA sources.

When you buy a 7000XL with a 10×10 base and column, know that all components were sourced from USA vendors. As they transition products back to the USA, Doran will be labeling products that are built in the US factory and USA sourced components with Built in America label that you see in this blog post. Along with USA manufacture, Doran has made some additional improvements as well. They are excited to introduce improvements like the 7000XL display, which is now 0.8” tall and expanded options. The factory now supports 34 options for the 7000XL weight indicator.

It’s no mystery why so many people turn to the Doran 7000XL for their weighing applications. From capturing plant floor data to a simple dough scale on a baker’s bench, the 7000XL is adaptable to fit your specific needs. Engineered to stand up to the harshest environment, the sealed, heavy duty “Guardian” touch panel resists moisture and puncture damage. The big, bright red LED display is easy to read. IP69K rated Washdown safe, stainless steel is a hallmark of Doran Scales. The heavy gauge 304 stainless steel construction and the gasketed enclosure ensure that the 7000XL will provide many years of trouble-free service.

Choose from a variety of Doran 7000XL models that include columns and attachment brackets to place the weight indicator at an ideal height for your weighing application. Need battery power? Just add option EXOPT308 and you have what used to be called the “8000XL” indicator.

Doran 7000XL Indicator Features

• Built in America
• Variety of data communication options including, wired Ethernet, WiFi, USB, Bluetooth or 4-20mA
• Optional internal rechargeable battery providing up to 60 hours of continuous use
• 304 stainless steel construction
• IP69K washdown protection
• Bright red, 0.8” tall 6 digit LED display
• Heavy duty touch panel with ZERO, UNITS, and PRINT controls
• Units of measure: lb, kg, oz, g, or lb:oz
• Legal for trade in US and Canada
• Dimension configuration software
• Programmable custom data strings

doran 7000xlm weight meter

A couple of additional notes to consider about the Doran product line. The 7000XL display is now 0.8″ tall and the indicator now has thirty four options available. One thing that hasn’t changed is the washdown quality and stainless steel construction. So, if you need a scale for food processing environments with grease and debris clean up is needed, this is your scale. The 7000XL is ideal for washdown situations in food processing plants, dairies, packing houses, bottling plants, breweries, canneries, creameries and much more.

So when it comes to stainless steel washdown bench scales, we usually recommend Doran Scales. In fact, we have received “Top Doran Scales Dealer” awards in the past. Contact our sales team (919) 776-7737 for additional information and price quotes.

Solid State Relay Versus Mechanical Relay

The argument about which is better, solid-state relays (SSRs) or electromechanical relays (EMRs), has raged on for many years. The answer is actually neither, as each relay type has positive and negative aspects. But if you factor in specific application requirements, clear winners emerge.

Actually, SSRs aren’t relays at all, but rather electronic circuits. The control inputs are connected internally to an LED, which shines across an air gap to light sensors. The light sensor is connected to the transistors which open or close, supplying the relay’s load with power. When a transistor is closed, current can flow freely through the relay, causing the load and power supply to be connected. When a transistor is open, almost all current is blocked, causing the load to become disconnected from the power supply. The pairing of an LED with light sensors is called an opto-coupler, and is a common technique to link two parts of a circuit without a direct electrical connection.

Mechanical relays use an electromagnetic coil to open or close the circuit. When current runs through the input and energizes the coil, it creates a small magnetic field which either pulls the arm of the switch away from the other contact of the switch, or pushes it down to close the switch depending on the how the switch is made. A relay also serves as an isolator, because the control (input) and load (output) ends of the relay are not electrically connected. This allows you to protect the device you’re using to control the relay from power surges in your application.

doran 2200 digital weight indicator with relays

Ok then, when should you use each type?

Whether to use an EMR or SSR depends on a number of factors such as the application’s environment, electrical requirements, and cost or budget.

Use SSR for:
• Applications requiring high speed and frequent switching operations.
• Applications in high vibration environments.
• Application where the relay has to be located near sensitive automation components, such as PLC’s, HMIs, and temperature controllers.
• Applications in dusty or humid environments.
• Applications in hazardous locations (presence of fumes or gases)

Use EMR for:
• Applications requiring a wide output range from the relay.
• Applications using motors & transformers requiring high starting amps.
• Applications where the initial installation budget is very limited.
• Applications prone to current surges and voltage spikes.

EMR or SSR… we have choices for you. Our Doran Scale lineup of products offers both types of relays in the Internal Relay option (Part# EXOPT106) and the External Relay Option (Part# EXOPT107).

FC6300 Formula Control Scale Video Overview

What would it be like to be in total control? Imagine saving at least 2.1% of your yearly ingredient costs. What would that be worth to you? Picture having an extra supervisor watching over your employees’ shoulders monitoring and controlling the formulation process. What effect would that have on your product consistency and production efficiency? Well actually the Doran FC6300 Formula Control System puts you in total control and can pay for itself in four months or less!

Field-Proven Ingredient Savings
In today’s competitive marketplace, reducing production costs is a sure path to greater profits. Doran’s Formula Control has been guiding production plants along that path with ingredient savings of at least 2.1%—even more. Combine lower ingredient costs with the elimination of the money wasted on bad batches, and you can understand why successful companies are investing in the FC6300 Formula Control System.

Take a look at the savings one company experienced with the FC6300. This plant realized that improving the performance of their formula scaling could lead to a significant impact on profitability. Additionally they were averaging one bad batch a week due to errors that were traced back to the scaling process. They turned to Doran Scales to reduce costs from wasted ingredients and bad batches—the solution was the FC6300 Formula Control System. Return on investment due to ingredient cost savings was achieved in just four months, and the net one-year effect on profit margin was $27,068.71. It’s no wonder that plant managers at this company’s other location suddenly became interested in the FC6300 Formula Control System.

Consistent Batches—Guaranteed!
Reduction of ingredient costs is easy to see, but the costs associated with bad batches are often overlooked. Like a dripping faucet, those bad batches can gradually drain your plant’s profits. Production downtime to clean production lines and discard the bad batch, along with cost of wasted ingredients, can add up. Our field studies show that bad batches cost a company $837 per incident. With guaranteed consistent batches, your plant will run more efficiently, adding to your profitably.

Because the system prompts the user through the formula, the correct ingredients are accurately scaled every time. Each ingredient of the formula is weighed within a tolerance that you define. The color-coded Accu-Track display on the bright LCD screen ensures that added ingredients are within those tolerances. Each step of the formula is clearly labeled with batch ID, batch name, the step number, ingredient name, target weight, and actual weight. Accurate scaling can be achieved with or without experienced production employees.

Ensures Employee Accountability
Formula Loader is a standard component of the FC6300 Formula Control system. This Windows™-compatible software is used to configure formulas as well as to provide production reports. Standard Formula Loader reports can be used to evaluate scale operator efficiency and ingredient usage. Using scale operator ID’s, the FC6300 tracks when a user logs in and out of the scale. Management can easily determine how long the scale operators are taking to prepare each formula and how accurately it was done. It’s like having the plant manager watching over your employees’ shoulders 24/7.

For more information on this exciting product from Doran, please fill out our request form on the website with your particular requirements and specifications.

Scale Calibration Frequency: How Often Should I Calibrate my Digital Scale?

We’ve actually covered the subject of how often to calibrate a scale before but it’s always a good idea to remind customers just how important the accuracy of their scales can be. We get this question fairly often so today with the help of Doran Scales we’ll take another look at why it’s important to have your scales calibrated on a regular basis by a trained scale technician.

What is the value of the product to be weighed on the scale?
If the product being weighed is very expensive, there is value in regular and periodic inspection and calibration. For example if the product costs $10 a pound and on an average day 1,000 pounds of product is weighed on the scale, the total value is $10,000. Let’s assume the scale is out of tolerance by 0.5%; that discrepancy would be $50 per day, $250 per week, and $1,000 per month. Obviously, eliminating this error would save a tremendous amount of money and more than pay for the calibration services.

Is it a legal-for-trade application?
If you buy or sell product based upon weight using your scale, it will need to be inspected and certified by the State or local Weights and Measures Department at the time of or shortly after installation. If a scale is tested and found to be out of tolerance or if products in the field are found to not meet the stated weight, Weights and Measure can condemn the scales so that they cannot be used until recalibrated, and literally shut your production down.

How many weighments per day and at what % of scale capacity?
Generally speaking, with time and use scales can start to lose accuracy. It may be a tiny error but over months and years it can grow to unacceptable levels. Think of it in these terms: when you buy a new car, you can expect that the wheel alignment will be exactly accurate. When this same car has 75,000 or 100,000 miles on it, the wheel alignment may need to be adjusted due to normal wear and tear. The same idea is true with your scale. Regular calibration of heavily used scales will correct any accuracy errors that will normally occur with this type of use.

Are the scales frequently moved around in your facility or from one location to another?
Doran scales are designed to be portable, in the sense that they do not require a permanent installation location. However, many times when scales are moved, they are handled incorrectly, resulting in damage that can affect the calibration and accuracy of the unit. If your scales are constantly being moved around in your facility or moved from one location to another, regular calibration will help keep them accurate and reveal any damage that may have occurred when they have been moved.

Continue reading

Common Applications for Peak Hold Feature In Digital Scales

In today’s entry we would like to discuss the peak hold function. It’s a popular topic since we are usually asked about this capability at least every week or so. In these examples we will focus primarily on the Doran Scale product line. The Excel Series 2200, 2200CW, 4300, 7000XL, 7400, and 8000XL scales from Doran represent a scale line that you can rely on to fill a wide variety of weighing applications. From a battery powered 2200CW checkweigh scale for a food manufacturer, to an 8000XL series scale with a wireless Ethernet option for a seafood company, the flexibility of the Excel Series scales can help you achieve accurate results time after time. The Peak Hold feature is another example of how the Excel Series from Doran provides value added weighing solutions.

Doran 2200CW stainless steel checkweigher

Customers Using Peak Hold 
Many industries use Peak Hold in their quality control process. Peak Hold is when weight or force is applied to determine the highest amount of force a product can withstand. Maintaining a consistent specification in production results in cost savings, increased safety, and minimizes exposure to product liability litigation. Peak Hold allows for maximum sensitivity and accurate weight or force readings too quick for the eye to see and because it is digitally held, a displayed peak value will not decay or drift. Continue reading

Fitness Equipment Company Gives Doran Scales a Workout

Recently, a fitness equipment manufacturer was weighing a kit of parts and their current weighing system was still allowing an unacceptable quantity of quality control problems. The ideal product for the fitness company was a Doran 2200cw scale. Below is a summary of what was installed at their facility.

A system was proposed that would automate and simplify the process and retain the accumulated weight through the process of weighing several components of a parts kit. By connecting three Doran 2200CW over under accept check weigh scales together and using foot switches to activate certain push buttons, Doran was able to construct a system that allowed the employees to accurately weigh the kit of parts even though the weighing process took place across three workstations – all without pushing buttons on the scale front panel.

2200CW check weigh scaleThree 2200CW check weigh scales were set up using RS-232 cables so that scale number one sent weight data to scale two, and scale two sent weight data to scale three. The first 2200CW check weigher was set up for an over value of 1.2 lb and an under value of 0.7 lb. The employee weighs the items at the first scale and then presses the PRINT foot switch on the first scale. That weight is sent to the second 2200CW and would be automatically programmed as the tare value in the second scale.

The second 2200CW scale is set up with a target weight of 2.2 lb. A component is added to the kit of parts and would be weighed on the second scale and the GROSS/NET foot switch would be pressed to change it to gross mode. The PRINT foot switch is pressed and the total weight (including the tare value sent from scale one) is transmitted to scale three.

On the third and final 2200CW scale, another part is added to the kit. The GROSS/NET foot switch is pressed, to put the scale into gross mode. The weight of all the parts is shown on the display of scale three.

This is just one example of what is possible with Doran scales and the huge choice of available options. If you have a unique weighing application, contact us at Central Carolina Scale and we can get a Doran scale system quoted for you that will save you money and increase your efficiency.

Just What You’ve Asked For – Fishing Scale Reviews

fishing scale reviewEvery year we are asked for recommendations and quotes on various scales that we sell for weighing fish that are caught in a tournament. These fishing scale reviews are based on our experience and years of selling these items to customers. The weigh-in scales that we review are basically the ones that we sell. We don’t usually comment on scales that we have not sold since our experience is limited on those products. Often we are asked things like what is the best fishing scale and the answer to that really depends on several factors. Things like, how often are you planning on using the scale, and how accurate do you need the scale to be? Does the scale need to be “waterproof”? What is your budget? These are things that need to be considered before making a purchase. One other question that we don’t often talk about but it is worth mentioning is salt water. If you are planning on using the equipment around salt water, that is good to know when we make recommendations.

When you’re casting that fishing net across the internet trying to reel in the right scale for your club, you want to make sure that you buy the right product for your club. We all know that your budget is important, but you also want to make sure of the key features that you want. Does the scale need to be portable? Do you really know how to use a fishing scale? Since you obviously want a professional quality scale at an affordable price, lets take a look at some of our products and learn more about them. Continue reading

Bakery Manager says “I am giving away $52,000.00 per year”

The positive reviews just keep pouring in regarding the Doran FC6300 scale. What would it be like to be in total control? Imagine saving at least 1.8% of your yearly minor ingredient costs. What would that be worth to you? Picture having an extra supervisor watching over your employees’ shoulders monitoring and controlling the formulation process while the employee hand scales ingredients. What effect would that have on your product consistency and production efficiency? Doran’s FC6300 Formula Control System puts you in total control and can pay for itself in just four months or less. Just take a look at a few of the scale reviews.

“Based on your report, I calculated our costs. Within the three days of the FC6300 being on, it saved us $600.00. That equals $200 per day, $1000 a week means I am giving away $52,000.00 per year out the door!! I am going to put in for 2 units.”

 

“The FC6300 on average has saved us 200 lbs of ingredients a week and our average ingredient costs are around $5.00 a lb. We feel this has paid for itself in about 10 weeks. Mock recalls used to be a major hassle, but with the FC6300 and Formula Loader what used to take hours now literally takes seconds.”

 

“Within five days of install, with over 11,000 lbs of minors scaled at 2% tolerance, my scalers are now scaling at 99.992% accuracy which reduces our ingredient costs and we now have consistency in our batches. The ability to store lot numbers electronically and search for specific lot numbers with a touch of a button has shaved off at least 75 minutes of my QA’s time during a mock recall.”