By Derrick Mashaney, Director of Product Development, Fairbanks Scales

Product weighing in manual conveyor applications can be inefficient and time consuming. Operators can save material handling time (and reduce the need to lift products on and off a conveyor) by using new roller conveyor scale technology.

Manual weighing can be slow and inefficient
Shipping firms, airline freight companies and other manufacturing, distribution, or warehousing plants with high-volume package (box) movement often must weigh products as part of manual conveyor applications. They may do this with a standard bench scale that sits next to the conveyor. Or, they may cut out a section of the conveyor, place a cart in the opening and weigh products with a standard bench scale sitting on top. Either way, they have to remove the product from the conveyor, place it on the scale, and then move it back to the conveyor or to somewhere else – like a pallet or shelving.

One other option is a scale with a roller or ball top that could be used in line with a conveyor. However, these scales are usually quite small, and users still need to find a table on which to place the scale that would meet the application requirements.

New scale technology saves material handling time
New roller conveyor scale technology allows a conveyor to move the product rather than require someone to lift and carry it. This type of scale is an ergonomically friendly choice for establishing product weights in many shipping departments. It is a cost-effective solution for capturing shipping weights, missing parts inspection, over/under check weighing, common carrier chargeback protection, or manufacturing applications that require manual conveyor weighing.

One example is the new Fairbanks Roller Conveyor Scale, which allows material handlers, manufacturers, and distribution centers to economically speed production and increase operational efficiencies. Originally developed for the largest express shipping hub in the United States, the roller conveyor scale weighs products from 0.2 to 250 pounds and accommodates object sizes up to 32-inches by 36-inches. The unique roller weighing platform offers easy conveyor integration, reliable performance, accuracy and durability. The scale seamlessly integrates into most conveyor systems and is easily configurable with a new or existing manual conveyor.

Built for commercial or non-commercial applications, the roller conveyor scale consists of a frame (of typical floor conveyor height) with rails, galvanized steel rollers, integrated scale, and an integrated 5-digit weight display. There is no need to build a conveyor and then determine how to integrate a scale or build a conveyor around a scale design. Load cells are protected below the rollers in each of the platform’s corners. Four adjustable feet simply thread in (to decrease height) and thread out (to increase height) and can then be locked in place. The scale can be configured longer or shorter, wider or narrower, taller or shorter, to fit the customer’s exact needs. The scale is powered through a USB port or with a USB-to-AC power adapter accessory.

Also, in some applications the facility uses a special ergonomically friendly manual conveyor, called a gravity conveyor, for picking parts. A gravity conveyor runs north-to-south with the north end an inch higher than the southern-end. It is often up to 100 feet long. There is a gradual slope between the two ends, so boxes placed on the north-end will gradually reach the southern-end via gravity. This process can take from 5 to 10 minutes. Using a roller conveyor scale for these applications would significantly reduce material handling times because it enables the scale to read the box without the need for any operator interaction.

Major airline company adopts new technology to increase operational efficiencies
The Fairbanks Roller Conveyor Scale is being used by a major airline company for its air freight shipments and is also used by a major shipping company to check rejected, damaged, and any non-standard shipment with issues. Both these companies previously conducted these tasks with a manual process, taking the product manually to the closest scale to capture a weighment. With the new scale, material handlers, manufacturers, and distribution centers can economically speed production and increase operational efficiencies.

New roller scale technology provides excellent return on investment
While standard bench or floor scales are less costly than a roller conveyor scale, but the decrease in material handling time will result in an excellent return on investment over time.

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