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 been curious on how to send weight data from the scale to the computer since personal computers and laptops became prevalent.

send scale weight to computer

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

It actually might be easier than you might think and something that you can 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. 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. If you are using a Doran Scales indicator, you would be interested to know they have made great software available for their products. The Doran Excelerator is likely 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 many of their weight indicators, which makes sending weight data from the scale controller to a USB thumb drive very simple. You can just 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, Rice Lake has the WeighVault computer software, which 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 as a PDF.

In addition to scales with a digital USB output, there are also a few other choices available for end users to consider. 

TalTech WinWedge

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 hotkeys, 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 and RS-232 gauges, digital indicators, scales, and more. They also provide free unlimited and knowledgeable technical support on all of the products that they manufacture, particularly the keyboard wedge and software keyboard wedge.

Keyboard Wedge vs Hardware Wedge

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 include Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and other database types of applications.

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. 

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.

Get Started With Central Carolina Scale

Hopefully this month’s article will provide you with available 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 available 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.

I Want To Buy A Scale That Is Made In The United States of America.

The title of this blog post sounds simple enough, right? Many customers are interested in purchasing lots of different items that are made in America versus buying items made in China and other countries. But, I would like to ask you a question…

What exactly do you consider “Made in America”?

The reason I bring this up is that it’s really difficult to find certain types of scales that meet a certain definition.

According to the FTC, for most products there is no law requiring manufacturers and marketers to make a “Made in USA” claim. But if a business chooses to make the claim, the FTC’s Made in USA standard applies. Made in USA means that “all or virtually all” the product has been made in America. That is, all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any – or should contain only negligible – foreign content. The FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement and its business guide, Complying with the Made in USA Standard, spell out the details, with examples of situations when domestic origin claims would be accurate and when they would be inappropriate.

For simplicity, let’s look at an industrial floor scale as an example.

Ok so you’re looking to buy an American Made floor scale. Did you know that almost every floor scale that is built in the USA utilizes (4) load cells that were made in China? With that being the case, let’s say your floor scale was built in Rice Lake, Wisconsin but uses load cells from China.  Do you still consider this scale an American Made item?

industrial floor scale

Did you also know that many of the junction boxes and summing boards are made overseas? Finally, did you know that the home run cable, the fifteen foot long cable that connects the scale to your digital weight indicator is probably constructed overseas? And, what about the steel used in the floor scale? Was it purchased domestically?

Sticking with the floor scale example, next area to consider is the digital weight indicator. Is it one hundred percent made in the USA? Were all the boards and components made in America? How about the display board? The plastic or stainless steel enclosure? Was the AC adapter made in the USA?

These are some interesting things to consider. I know of many people who can justify buying a scale that was constructed and calibrated in the USA but does utilize some Chinese components. However, there are some who absolutely want their products to be 100 % made in America.  Are there any scales that can one hundred percent meet that?

From our standpoint as a distributor it can be quite tricky since we are not involved in the actual manufacturing process. We have had numerous scale manufacturers tell us over the years that they build Made in the USA weighing equipment and then over time they slowly start substituting Chinese parts or in some cases, send all the manufacturing over to China. Unless the scale manufacturer tells us, sometimes we are not even aware that anything has changed in the manufacturing process.

So if buying a Made in the USA scale is important to you, contact us and we can help you. Just be sure to specify to us up front how flexible you wish to be when it comes to things like Chinese components such as load cells being a part of the final product.

In our experiences, many customers may originally start a transaction as a “Made in the USA” fanatic but once they discover certain prices and lead times for domestic components, they become a fanatic of “Made in U.S. from Imported Parts” or “Assembled in U.S.A.”.

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.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Case Study

Recently Cardinal Scale Manufacturing provided us with a case study involving remote displays and an unattended Satellite 825 weight indicator. Below is a short overview of the information.

Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) recently took on an expansion project in order to more precisely and efficiently scale all sludge dried through the de-watering system. The project included the installation of Jordan’s first unmanned weighing system. Cardinal Scale’s authorized dealer, Traffic Tech, assisted with the project using Cardinal Scale’s USA-made load cells, (2) SB500 remote displays, an unattended Satellite 825 indicator in conjunction with Traffic Tech’s weighbridge, camera system, printer, and RFID for driver identification.

The vehicle weighbridge became operational in September, 2015. Approximately 35 trucks are weighed daily. With the purchase and installation of the new equipment, Samra Plant O&M Co. is excited to report that the Cardinal digital display is accurate and easy to read. Process Manager Mr. Mohammed reports, “The accurate readings of sludge volume enable us to achieve good accuracy in plant mass balance calculations.” This capability is a great asset to Samra and, in turn, the surrounding community.

The indicator is now located in a suitable place for the drivers to easily extract necessary data. “The drivers and operators find the weighbridge user friendly with clear signs of entering and leaving. The smooth weighing process gives us more accurate and controlled data,” reported Production Manager Mr. Morad.

Also significantly improving the overall process, team members are now able to monitor the weighbridge and trucks using cameras and Cardinal’s WinDDE 2.0 Dynamic Data Exchange program. The weight and status of the weight indicators is made readily available to spreadsheets, databases, and industrial control applications by means of Dynamic Data Exchange.

cardinal scale wastewater treatment plant scales

We offer the equipment listed in the case study. Cardinal Scale’s Satellite series unattended weighing kiosks provide the ultimate experience in unmanned truck scale efficiency and streamlined data integration. The lockable, weather-proof enclosure features an articulating arm to retract the kiosk away from truck traffic when its not in use. Select a Satellite model with the features you need including a high-speed thermal cutbar tape printer, proximity badge reader (AWID and HID), rainhood/sun deflector, and 240 x 64 pixel blue backlit LCD or 640 x 480 pixel backlit color touch screen LCD. The weatherproof QWERTY keyboard with navigation arrow keys and main soft keys provides driver input prompting controls.

Cardinal Scale SB-500 boasts a giant 5-inch tall, high-intensity LED display easily read up to 250 feet away. A weatherproof mild or stainless steel enclosure with mounting tabs allow it to be mounted on a vertical surface. Other features include bi-directional RS232 serial port and other connectivity options, auto-learning serial protocol, annunciators for lb, kg, T, t G and N. Custom programmable software to create your own graphics. The interface can autolearn most serial protocols. One custom protocol can be entered into the unit. The interface is configurable for serial data input as either an active or passive 20mA current loop, RS-232 or RS422/485, and also has the connectivity options of Wi-Fi, wireless, fiber optic and Ethernet.

Please contact us at your convenience to determine what item(s) would be best suited for your weighing needs.

UDP User Datagram Protocol now available with Avery Weigh-Tronix ZM300 / ZM400 Series

Technology is always evolving and fortunately the engineers at Avery Weigh-Tronix are hard at work building high quality digital weight indicators that can handle a multitude of tasks.

scale weight indicator UDP ethernet

One of the recent upgrades that these scale controllers received is the ability to communicate via UDP. UDP is User Datagram Protocol. We’ll provide the wikipedia link below for additional information on the technology.

The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is one of the core members of the Internet protocol suite. The protocol was designed by David P. Reed in 1980 and formally defined in RFC 768. With UDP, computer applications can send messages, in this case referred to as datagrams, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Prior communications are not required to set up transmission channels or data paths.

UDP uses a simple connectionless transmission model with a minimum of protocol mechanism. UDP provides checksums for data integrity, and port numbers for addressing different functions at the source and destination of the datagram. It has no handshaking dialogues, and thus exposes the user’s program to any unreliability of the underlying network and so there is no guarantee of delivery, ordering, or duplicate protection. If error correction facilities are needed at the network interface level, an application may use the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) which are designed for this purpose.

So if UDP is a technology that you require or perhaps one of your pieces of existing equipment requires, then we now have the ability to provide you with a weighing solution for that. Contact our sales team for a quote today.

Cardinal Scale’s Digital Fill Control Improves Efficiency for Cherry Packing

In preparation for the busy summer harvest season, fruit distributors find tremendous value in equipment improvements and workflow efficiency.

Recently, an authorized Cardinal Scale dealer outfitted a cherry packing shed in California with an upgraded packing system. This operation utilizes a conveyor belt system to transport sorted cherries to be packaged using Cardinal Scale static scales and weight indicators.

fruit packing scales

The initial weigh-in is performed on 14 conveyor lines using Cardinal Scale’s EB-150-LPAN bench scales and 225 Navigator weight indicators. The customer uses Cardinal Scale’s digital fill control software that comes standard on the 225 indicator and an RB4 relay to control the speed of the conveyor belt filling the cherry packages. When an appropriate weight has been reached, the indicator stops the belt and the container is sent down conveyor rollers to the next work station. The operator is not required to press any keys to continue filling the next container.

The filled cherry container then goes down the conveyor line to the checkweigher, comprised of a Cardinal Scale EB-150-LPAN bench scale with 190 Storm wash down indicator. This station utilizes the ColorZONE feature on the 190 indicator to rapidly indicate over, under, or desirable weight. The 190’s ColorZONE feature overcomes any language barrier that might be an obstacle with reading the indicator. The container is brought to the appropriate weight by manually adding cherries and then sent to final packaging.

The Cardinal Scale system has improved the operation by automating the initial packing process with fill control software.

The cherry packing process has become more productive and the packing shed is ready for the summer produce season. You can read the entire case study here.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in for your business, then give us a call at (919) 776-7737 or fill out our Request for Quote link on our website, centralcarolinascale.com — we are an authorized Cardinal Scale dealer and would be happy to provide you with the right equipment for your weighing needs.

Rice Lake 720i Weight Indicator – Reports, Customers, Transactions

The standard truck in/out functionality of the Rice Lake 720i is very effective. But with a little bit of programming, the 720i can do a lot more including customer or material reports. The standard truck in/out modes are used to handle multiple truck ID numbers and weights. Truck IDs can be up to 16 alphanumeric characters in length. The terminology for the truck storage includes:

Stored IDs
Let you keep a database of truck IDs and weigh-in weights in the indicator’s memory. The indicator can automatically store up to 1000 truck IDs and tares; or it can clear the information after printing a weigh-out ticket. For example, if the same truck seldom crosses the scale, it may not be practical to save its ID number and weigh-in weight. However, if that same truck crosses the scale many times each day, it’s more convenient to store the information in the indicator memory and recall it when needed. Stored IDs and weights are available in modes 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Keyed Tare
Allow you to manually enter the tare weight using the numeric keypad and the key. Keyed tares are available in modes 1, 3, and 5. To use keyed tares, an incoming truck must be empty at weigh-in, full at weigh-out.

Value Swapping
Ensures that the lower of two weight values associated with a particular ID number is used as the tare weight. For example, if a truck crosses the scale fully loaded at weigh-in, then unloads and crosses the scale empty at weigh-out, the indicator automatically assigns the lesser (empty truck) weight as the tare. Value swapping is available in modes 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Mode ……… Stored IDs ………… Keyed Tares ………… Value Swapping
MODE 1 …….. NO …………………… YES ……………………. YES
MODE 2 …….. NO ……………………. NO …………………….. YES
MODE 3 …….. YES …………………. YES ……………………. YES
MODE 4 …….. YES ………………….. NO …………………….. YES
MODE 5 …….. YES ………………… YES ……………………… NO
MODE 6 …….. YES …………………. NO ……………………… NO

WEIGH IN
In modes 1 and 2, the indicator erases truck ID numbers and tare weights from memory after the transaction. In modes 3–6, the truck ID and weigh-in weight values are saved after the weigh-out ticket has been processed.

The general weigh-in procedure is as follows:
1. The empty truck moves onto the scale for weigh-in.
2. Press the Weigh In softkey.
3. A prompt is shown to enter the truck ID (up to eight alphanumeric characters). Enter the ID, then press the Enter key.
4. Indicator generates the weigh-in ticket:
5. Truck leaves the scale.

WEIGH OUT
The general weigh-out procedure is as follows:
1. The loaded truck moves onto the scale for weigh-out.
2. If truck ID is known, press the Weigh Out softkey, enter the ID, and press the Enter key.
If ID is not known, press the Truck Regs softkey to view list of stored IDs. Scroll to the correct truck ID, note the ID number, then press the Cancel softkey to return to the weight display. From the weight display, press Weigh Out, key in the ID, then press the Enter key.
3. Indicator generates the weigh-out ticket. In modes 1 and 2, the ID is deleted once the weigh-out ticket is processed.

Single-Transaction Tare Weights and IDs
One-time transactions are supported in all modes that can be configured to use stored IDs (modes 3–6). This function allows one-time weighing of trucks without adding the truck ID and weigh-in weight to the permanent truck register. To use this function, press the Weigh In or Weigh Out softkey, then enter a truck ID containing a decimal point. IDs entered with a decimal point as part of the ID are erased from the truck register when the transaction is complete.

ADVANCED MODE
Now to the real point of the article! With some additional programming, the standard out of the box 720i weight controller can deliver a lot more for your business. With the Truck Storage “Advanced Mode” you can run reports based on several factors such as:

SUMMARY REPORTS
Report from beginning date to ending date specified by the operator. (DDMMYYY)
Report by material, customer or source

DAILY
Report of selected date entered by operator, can be all transactions or by a selected shift (1, 2 or 3)

DETAIL
All transactions in the database or pending transactions only

CODE LIST
List of stored items by material, customer or source Continue reading