Weigh to go
April 1, 2004
Weigh to go
New digital load cells from Gainco combine ultra-accurate weigh data with high speed and EMI resistance.
Ever since deciding to expand its focus and activity in weighing systems and equipment, the engineers at Gainco Inc., Gainesville, GA, have spent extensive time evaluating weighing practices at meat and poultry processing facilities. This has helped the company understand the most nagging challenges and problems faced by production managers.
“One issue that’s come up often in our discussions is improving the accuracy of high-speed product weighing,” says Gene Parets, vice president of Gainco. “Too often, operators encounter inaccuracies in high-speed weighing processes due to electromagnetic interference or vibration. They’re also looking for a clean data stream over long-wire runs, but that’s not always happening.”
In many plants, the analog signals are running along cables as long as 50 to 100 feet between the scale and the controller, where the analog-to-digital conversion is made. All along that line, degradation of the data can easily occur because of other conduit wiring, high-voltage equipment, and floor vibration, among other things. Instead of achieving 95 percent or better in-range weighing accuracy, some facilities find weighing accuracy coming in at a disappointing level of 80 percent, 70 percent, or lower.
Armed with input from its customers, Gainco’s R&D staff set its sights on integrating digital load-cell technology into its equipment lines. Digital load cells convert the weight reading to a digital signal before sending the measurement to the system controller. In contrast to analog signals, the digital signals are very robust and unaffected by electromagnetic interference.
Super Accurate, Super Fast
Gainco relays that its new digital load cells represent the best technology yet for achieving the ultimate in weighing accuracy and speed. These load cells deliver unsurpassed weighing accuracy through advanced filtering technologies and higher scan rates. In product testing, up to a 30-percent improvement in in-range weighing accuracy compared to conventional systems has been found.
Moreover, the higher scan rates allowable with Gainco’s system — up 10 times faster than conventional analog weighing systems — allows it to collect the most weight readings for better weighing accuracy, thereby increasing throughput and helping to remedy any potential production bottlenecks.
Plant environments can also be a constant source of undesirable mechanical vibrations, which propagate into conventional weighing equipment. Machinery emitting vibration due to its operation can cause floor vibration that negatively affects weighing accuracy. Filtering the weight reading is critical for eliminating the effects of outside mechanical vibrations on weighing accuracy, and the Gainco system does this extremely well.
Expressly for Meat and Poultry
In order to protect against the harsh operating conditions of meat and poultry plants, Gainco’s digital load cell has a unique construction. Unlike other products, which haven’t been designed specifically for meat and poultry applications, Gainco’s load cells are completely encapsulated in a laser-welded housing to provide a permanent seal. In-plant testing has proven that this sealed stainless steel construction stands up to moisture, water, and harsh chemicals.
Recognizing the unique plant washdown issues associated with fluids, water pressure, and temperature variations, Gainco’s electronic vibration suppression design eliminates the need for mechanical or viscous damping materials. The design is more durable and requires far less maintenance and troubleshooting than mechanical dampening alternatives.
Marlen Moves Forward
Marlen Research is gaining momentum as it celebrates a milestone and merges with Reno Technology.
The past couple of years for Overland Park, KS-based Marlen Research Corporation have been exciting as the company recently celebrated 50 years of business and merged with Reno Technology. The Marlen product line now covers three key operating areas for food processors: pumping, portioning, and particle reduction with the Opti Series; material handling and storage with the Reno Series; and batch and continuous thermal processing with the GBC Series. During the past two years Marlen has brought about the evolution, innovation, and advancement of the most common thermal processing device — the batch processing oven. By the end of 2002, in fact, a completely redesigned thermal processing oven anchored the GBC Series.
In 2003, several significant oven installations were computer modeled and commissioned addressing several challenging applications including fermented and cold smoke products.
Delivering on the Promise
The meat and poultry industries demanded a strong domestic alternative for thermal processing equipment and Marlen delivered. With ovens in the field now featuring 18 -truck capacity, national processors are taking notice.
Marlen Research Corporation’s GBC Series of thermal processing equipment exhibits innovative advancement in key areas of construction, air-handling efficiency, and control. Continuous machine welding joins the inner and outer construction of 14-gauge stainless, making this product the heaviest in the industry, to stainless internal tube structures for best control of expansion and contraction, avoiding wall panel distortion and seam fractures. Air-handling systems deliver more performance with 25-percent less horsepower. A Windows XP based control system uses Allen Bradley RS View interface, and it offers PM scheduling, on-line manual and schematics, and remote connection via modem.
Marlen GBC Continuous Processing Systems also offer simple, durable conveyances that maximize production and minimize floor-space requirements. Marlen has naturally evolved as the premier single source for total manufacturing systems as the GBC Series thermal processing equipment is combined with the innovations of the Reno Series in product accumulation, automated mold systems, and material-handling equipment.
A major commitment has been made to develop the total system for processing large volumes of molded products where material handling is every bit as important as the thermal processes. In fact, Marlen now offers both steam and hot water immersion systems.
The Marlen thermal program is designed to minimize risk and maximize customer satisfaction. By taking logical progressive steps, addressing more challenging product groups and larger volumes, and working closely with customers, Marlen Research continues to lead the way through innovation.