Best Commercial Bakery Scales

Over the years we have worked with numerous commercial bakeries and related businesses with their portion weighing needs.  Accuracy is very important for their food recipe and quality control and overall consistency. Many of these businesses use our scale calibration and repair services on a regular basis to keep their scales running year round.

What Kind of Scale do Professional Bakers & Chefs Use?

This is a good question. Basically there are a couple of ways that bakery customers often approach obtaining commercial bakery scales. One way is to buy high quality scales that are more expensive. A few examples might include the stainless steel Doran 7000XL bench scale or perhaps the Avery Weigh-Tronix ZQ375 checkweigher.

Both of these are washdown safe, aka waterproof scales and the thinking is that these industrial scales are built tougher and will provide more years of service in return for the investment that you’re making. In fact, we know of a famous pizza chain that uses the Doran 7000XL bench scales for preparing their pizzas and keeping track of ingredient portions. The result that we’ve noticed many times is a consistent pizza every time you order.

doran 7000xl commercial bakery scale

The other way to approach buying scales for a commercial bakery is to buy the cheapest scales and then when they break (notice we didn’t say “if” they break) you’ll throw those out and buy more new cheap scales.  

Which way is better? 

As a scale supplier for over forty years, we have seen both strategies utilized and in our experience, most of the time, you come out ahead buying a quality scale that is built for the application that you intend to use it for.

One thing is also worth mentioning and that is to educate your workers about the scale. So many times workers don’t understand or realize the cost of the scale and that the scale is not impervious to damage. Most every digital scale on the market doesn’t do well when it’s dropped from the counter onto a concrete floor or carried around the kitchen by the cable or have a heavy item dropped or slammed onto the weighing platter.

Assuming your employees use the scale properly, sure, you may have to get your replacement Doran Scale load cell installed or perhaps a load cell cable somehow gets cut or ripped out of the scale. But in most cases, those items can be repaired and you’re not having to purchase new equipment all the time.

What are Scales Used for in the Professional Kitchen?

Most of the time bakery scales are used for portion control and quality control purposes. Ingredients can be very expensive and customers expect consistency every time they order your product. 

What is the Best Food Scale on the Market?

The best commercial food scale on the market is probably the Doran 7000XL stainless steel bench scale. Professional bakers have used this commercial scale for many years. If you’re talking about small portion control scales or kitchen scales, then you might want to see the Doran 550 series counter top scales. 

We encourage you to contact us to discuss your needs and what you are looking for with a digital scale. We can tell you what the best kitchen scale is in our opinion, but if you let us know exactly how you’re going to be using the scale, what features you need/want and your budget, we can provide you with our recommendation. Call us (919) 776-7737 or fill out the RFQ form on our website to get started.

Bench Scales Ideal for Pharmaceutical Packaging

Safety First!

That may be a tired expression, but it rings true in so many industrial settings, including pharmaceutical packaging.

While corporate executives and share holders may be focused on productivity and the scientists with precision, everyone involved – regulatory agencies, the government, warehouse workers, employees at every step of the supply chain, pharmacy technicians, doctors, consumers, and more are all concerned with safety.

pharma scales for accurate weighing

Cross contamination can put lives at risk.

And even just a miscalculation, lapse in judgment, or inferior equipment, can put a business at risk of being heavily fined or even shut down. Companies in the highly-regulated pharmaceutical industry must always be compliant and “audit prepared.”

Pharmacies don’t operate the way they did 100 years ago, when a pharmacist used a pestle and mortar and prepared medicines as needed.

Today, with so many medications available to the public and so much money in big pharma, drug products are almost exclusively mass created and manufactured far from their eventual point of purchase. After being created in a lab, most consumer drug products are bottled, boxed, stored, packaged and shipped from container closure systems.

Pills, ointments, syrups, syringes, inhalers, etc. are packaged, they are counted and weighed using bench scales that are reliably precise, durably built, intuitively operated, and loaded with safety features.

When designing safety assessments for chemical and pharmaceutical packaging operations, leading companies carefully select the highest quality industrial bench scales like the OHAUS Defender.

Many folks just think of Ohaus as a manufacturer of Laboratory Balances like the Explorer or Scout. But, they also manufacture a complete line of industrial scales like floor scales, counting scales and bench scales, like the Defender 5000.

Defender 5000 for Pharma Packaging

The Defender 5000 Series Bench Scales are designed to simplify demanding industrial applications, including production, packaging, inventory, and shipping.

Multifunctional Defender 5000 meets the weighing and measurement needs of a broad range of manufacturing processes and industrial applications, including Parts Counting with APW optimization, Check Weighing or Check Counting, Percent Weighing, Filling, and Dynamic Weighing or Display Hold. With so many application modes, Defender eliminates the need for long and complicated manual calculations.

Durable Defender 5000 scales are built to withstand the rigors of warehouse work with a 304-grade stainless steel platform, powder-coated steel frame, and aluminum load cell that are all easy to clean and sterilize. Available washdown models are designed to withstand high pressure cleaning. Defender meets NTEP & Measurement Canada type approvals.

The user-friendly Defender 5000 features an alpha-numeric keypad with SoftKeys, large backlit display, and plain text on-screen prompts to guide you through operation. Defender 5000’s large transflective dot matrix display makes results easy to read, even in bright sunlight. The SmarText 3.0 interface guides you through advanced features, reducing training time for operators and simplifying setup.

Available Defender 5000 floor and tabletop models feature a range of platform sizes and weighing capacities to support your needs. Call (919) 776-7737 or complete our RFQ form on our website for additional info on the Ohaus bench scale lineup.

Peak Hold Feature on Scales and Weighing Balances

What is Peak Hold?

There are several ways to describe peak hold, but for our purposes, we are going to say that a scale with peak hold enabled displays the highest reading detected by the scale or balance and holds the result on the display.  

How Is Peak Hold Different From a Regular Hold Function?

This is where the “hold” function can get a little confusing. Many scales these days offer some version(s) of a hold function. Some offer a hold function that will hold whatever weight is on the scale when it stabilizes. Some scales will hold the stable weight and then increase the displayed weight if it increases beyond a certain percentage. 

The regular hold function freezes the results on the display when the scale receives them. In this case, that means that the weight on the display would only show what first registered on the scale, paying no attention to the weight applied afterwards. So if your scale measures 3kg, 7kg and 5kg, it will hold and display 3kg. As mentioned above, some scales will go beyond this and display an increased amount if the scale weight increases beyond a certain percentage. Other hold settings average the weight and hold or “lock” the weight once it becomes stable.

 

Peak hold normally is the highest amount the scale has registered. It doesn’t usually involve all the averages and percentage increases. When the weight is held for dynamic weighing, it’s after the scale has averaged the results of all instances of weight registered. If your scale measures 3kg, 7kg and 5kg, it will hold and display 5kg. You see some of this on animal or livestock scales sometimes. This would not be “peak” hold.

While peak hold will record the highest value obtained rather than the first stable value, or the average of multiple values. It can be useful when a lot of weight is applied very quickly and removed just as quickly. If your scale measures 3kg, 7kg and 5kg on it, it will hold and display 7kg.

Why is Peak Hold Used in Quality Testing?

You don’t want cardboard packaging to fall apart because of the weight in the box. Peak hold can be used to determine a material’s tensile strength, which can help manufacturers determine if a material is suitable to contain and transport various objects, materials and chemicals.

Also, product consistency is very important. Imagine purchasing a bag of candy only to find that some pieces of candy melt in your mouth, while other pieces of candy hurt your teeth when you attempt to chew them.

You probably would not buy that brand again.

Quality testers need to ensure that tools that see heavy duty usage can always withstand daily usage without breaking randomly.

Another example, a can with potentially volatile chemicals needs to be made of a material that can withstand a certain amount of pressure build up before it breaks, or people could get injured.

peak hold scale

Many manufacturers use peak hold to test the amount of weight and pressure that can be supported by a part or piece to make sure components will not break from daily usage and stress on individual components.

The peak hold function can also be used to measure the highest weight for multiple weighing results in a short succession. For example, you can place an item, weigh it, remove it and place another one until you’re done measuring all your items, but the only weight recorded will be the highest one. Peak hold can also capture unstable weight spikes, while most weighing functions capture weight results once they are stable.

How is Peak Hold Used?

Some scales, like certain Adam Equipment scales, allow users to set a time interval in which the scale will keep displaying the recorded peak. The user can either have it displayed for that time interval before the display clears, or manually clear the display. Scales will often record and display a peak until another one is captured.

Material is sometimes weighed too quickly for the human eye to follow, or the sample is so bulky that it hides the display, which needs to maintain the weight to be read when the sample is removed from the pan. In addition, many quality testing facilities use systems with switches or remote mechanisms in place, so the scale or balance must be able to capture weight even if a person is not at the scale.

We have a customer who has purchased peak hold scales from us for many years. They measure the amount of weight that a person can lift by utilizing a S-Beam Load Cell along with a Digital Weight Indicator with Peak Hold Function enabled. The system has worked very well over the years and is currently utilized across the United States.

For more information on scales that offer peak hold capability, contact the Central Carolina Scale sales department or call (919) 776-7737.

Why use Digital Scales when Brewing Beer?

There are many reasons to use digital scales when brewing beer.

It can be for a microbrewery or an international brand. Consistency is first and foremost.

If you created a beer with a special taste, you want to make sure you can recreate that taste in every bottle. If ingredients are not measured properly, the taste can be unpleasant, and the alcohol content (typically referred to as alcohol by volume or ABV) can change.

Specific quantities can allow even new employees who are not familiar with a recipe to recreate the product with ease. A formula can also be tweaked more easily. Weight quantities also make recording easier. Recipes should always be written down with the exact amounts used during brewing. That helps ensure good batches get reproduced, and it can also allow brewers to find out why a recipe did not work.

Measuring ingredients can also help minimize waste by ensuring the right amount of ingredients are used in correct proportions. For home and microbreweries, it can be particularly tricky to scale the right amount of yeast for a first batch, so precision is very important. Even small batches can be ruined by imprecise recipes, which spills all the ingredients, time, money and effort down the drain.

Scales can also help during the carbonation process, depending on your method of choice. Carbonation can be added to beer in two ways: natural carbonation or forced carbonation. Natural carbonation results during the fermentation process of beer; when yeast digests sugar, alcohol and CO2 are the byproducts. This means brewers must carefully measure the sugar and yeast in order to create the proper amount of carbonation.

Forced carbonation is putting beer (post fermentation) in a container and pumping it with CO2 directly. Nowadays, this is the preferred method, particularly for large quantities.

It takes less time to carbonate a batch and forced carbonation allows beer to sit longer, but naturally carbonated beer is smoother and is considered more flavorful. In the end, it comes down to personal preference and equipment availability.

Scales are also used during bottling and to fill cans or kegs. Before fermentation, wort (unfermented beer) is made by boiling the ingredients together. Because some of the water can boil away, it’s important to add more water as need during the fermentation process. Monitoring a keg’s weight can help brewers ensure there is always enough water, and that the beer is not losing carbonation.

The weight of bottles (and their thickness) can also help ensure that carbonation, when combined with temperature and agitation, does not create too much pressure, which could break the glass bottles.

Why measure by weight and not by volume?

Using volume might seem more intuitive since beer is liquid. However, measuring by volume is not as accurate as measuring by mass. The shape of ingredients can dictate how much fits in a cup, while density and temperature can affect a liquid’s volume. Beer goes through numerous processes that can affect volume, including boiling, fermentation, and carbonation. Mass does not have to take these factors into account. That additional precision can improve the beer’s taste and help brewers tweak their recipe to perfection.

Even small balances can also measure a wider range. Take your usual measuring cups and spoons, where you often need multiple items to measure various ingredients. With a scale, you can simply put the ingredients in a container (tared, of course) and fill it until you have the right weight.

What kind of scale do you need for brewing?

You must establish your level of production, and the weight range you will need. If a brewery focuses on seasonal flavors or taste experiments, they will weigh smaller quantities than a brewery focusing on a single product.

Depending on the size of your operation, you’re most likely going to need more than one scale. Usually, micro or home breweries use a compact or precision balance to measure ingredients such as hops, spices, yeast and other fine items, and a stationary pallet scale or a portable pallet jack scale for batches, kegs, mass production and bottling.

Some breweries also have scales to check grain deliveries and yeast brinks. Larger breweries often have platform scales for larger batches and shipping and can buy more expensive balances that include more features that can save them time.

For large amounts of shipping and receiving, pallet truck scales or pallet weighing beams offer maneuverability and heavy-duty weighing capacities.

For more information on choosing the right digital scales for your brewery call us at (919) 776-7737

NEW! WiFi – Wireless Ethernet Option From Pennsylvania Scale Company

The Pennsylvania Scale Company Wi-Fi option brings power and versatility wireless networking connections to the rugged and reliable count weigh bench scales and indicators. Wi-Fi 802.11b/g Transceiver Module at 2.4GHz provides a seamless integration into your existing wireless network, with no special requirements!

A Wi-Fi enabled counting or weighing scale system allows you to collect and analyze data from a workstation, production line, shipping/receiving station or stock room, providing valuable information to help management increase accuracy, productivity and reduce costs.

wifi scales

WiFi Features and Benefits for Scales

The Pennsylvania Scale Wi-Fi option keeps your data safe and secure with configurable network security protocols (WPA1, WPA Mixed & WPA 2) supported by the wireless ethernet standard.

The Wi-Fi option saves the expense of running cables in an industrial or warehouse environment. Wi-Fi is the absolute best choice for data collection applications where the scale system is mobile or changes locations on a regular basis. Collect data with powerful and flexible data collection and control software from Pennsylvania Scale.

Initial setup and troubleshooting are easy using the innovative and built in Webserver/soft AP mode. Simply enable the soft AP mode on the option, connect to the “WiFly” SSID and open the configuration web page to setup on the wireless networking protocols or for troubleshooting. Now Available as a factory installed option on any Pennsylvania Scale Indicator or Bench Scale.

Part Number ………… Description
_WIFI       Wi-Fi Option installed: Ex: 7300-XXX WIFI, 7500-XXX WIFI, 7600-XXX WIFI 7400
WIFI, 7500/4 WIFI, 7600E WIFI, 7600/4 WIFI

57869-1    Wi-Fi Option Board Only

61301       Replacement Antenna

61300      Replacement Option Board to antenna interface cable

Who Needs the Pennsylvania Scale Model 7600 Manual?

Who needs the Pennsylvania 7600 manual for how to use the counting scale when you have a video like this! Some users can read a manual and use the scale with ease, while others appreciate seeing how to use the scale on their computer screen. This is especially helpful when you see all the different ways you can count on the 7600 scale.

Since 1908 Pennsylvania scale company has been manufacturing high quality rugged and accurate industrial counting and weighing scale systems. Proudly made in the USA at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania manufacturing facility.

In a fast-paced demanding production environment you need a count scale to help you control inventory, eliminate waste and just be an efficient scale that is precise and accurate. One that’s rugged and reliable but just as important one that’s easy to use.

Pennsylvania scale has designed and manufactured easy-to-use flexible counting scale solutions when you have lots of parts to count each day and you have to count them for different purposes and with different counting methods you need a scale that’s super
flexible. Pennsylvania scale has that ideal flexible counting scale solution for you. Let’s take a look at all the different ways you can count using the Pennsylvania 7600 counting scale.

The advanced counting methods are only available on the 7600 including
auto sample update after sampling in establishing a piece weight, add parts
totaling less than the initial sample size & the scale will recalculate the piece
weight and the percentage of accuracy will increase.

Two step counting is a very versatile way to use the Pennsylvania’s 7600 counting
scale, you can grab a handful of parts and place them on the scale after pressing sample set, count the number of parts that are on the scale platform & use
the scale keyboard to enter that number and view the percentage of accuracy and if
that’s acceptable press ENTER again and now be ready for parts counting.

With the 7600 you can count using a piece weight with a tare weight. Press the piece weight button and using the scale keypad key in the APW or average piece weight, then press the keypad tare button and enter the tare value of the container the parts are in.
Now will be displayed the total count of parts that are in the container and the container has been tared off or is not a part of that calculation.

Top-end counting is an ideal way to verify inventory without having to remove all of the parts from a container and it works very simply by first of all entering the tare weight of the container, then pressing the sample set button and removing the sample quantity
from the container. Verify that you have the correct number of pieces removed and
the percentage of accuracy will be displayed on the scale. Then press the Enter button. The scale now calculates the piece weight and shows the total count of pieces in the container the container has been tared off and is not a part of that calculation.

Negative counting is designed to allow you to count out from a container of parts.
Place the full container on the scale, press the sample set button, remove the
sample from the container. Make sure that you have the quantity correct. Percentage
of accuracy will be displayed. Press the Enter button and now as parts are removed from the container, the number of parts removed shows as a negative number
on the scale display.

Auto sample to bulk is a counting method that allows you to use a light capacity
highly accurate sample scale for determining the piece weight and then automatically switch to a heavier capacity remote scale platform for counting accurately in bulk quantities.

We hope that this information has been helpful to you. At Central Carolina Scale we recommend the Pennsylvania 7600 counting scales for industrial applications due to its rugged and durable features and the ease of use. Please contact us (919) 776-7737 for purchasing information or if you would like to set up a routine service plan to keep your Pennsylvania Scale Company product working well.

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.

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

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.