Rice Lake 920i Flexweigh At Work…

Pasta is a finicky food. Most people think of it in its fully cooked state—soft, succulent and durable enough to harmlessly toss against a wall to gauge its eat-readiness. However, the pasta manufacturing process reveals its true identity: a rigid, break-happy material demanding ultimate precision and care. When Claude Smith became plant manager of Pasta Montana in 2010, he immediately noticed areas that needed improvement. Bulk containers weighing between 500-1000 pounds were being manually filled and adjusted to reach specified targets. “It was a very time-consuming and inefficient process,” Claude explains. “We set the empty container on a floor scale, weighed it, and then scooped product in and out until we got the right weight. People were using their best guess to predict the overshoot or undershoot on the scale.”

Furthermore, operators were confined to an area near the weight display. “Someone always had to keep an eye on the readout,” Claude continues. “We spent a lot of time adjusting the weight and had to use two people on the job because of the inefficiencies.” Pasta Montana manufactures pasta 24 hours per day / 7 days per week, and at least one of those days was devoted to this bulk filling process. Making dry pasta is a continuous process. The raw material, semolina, is mixed and extruded through a set of dies to determine shape based on customer needs. After its shape is formed, the pasta mix enters a dryer for approximately four hours. It then runs through a cooler to avoid condensation. Once out of the cooler, the pasta travels through a few elevators and on to the next line, where a tote, bag or box is filled and packaged. This process runs on a loop, around the clock. “We needed the tote filling process to be continuous,” Claude explains. “If there’s a shutdown, it affects everything. Pasta dryers require a lot of humidity to dry the pasta. It seems counter-intuitive, but the humidity comes from the product. So if you’re not continuously putting fresh product in the dryer and taking dry product out, the process stops. It’s difficult to maintain good quality product because you’re eating away your humidity and not replenishing it in the form of product that’s been freshly extruded. If a line stops, we have product ready to exit the dryer and product ready to enter the dryer and each is now suspect in quality. In the past, this happened when we had issues filling totes, the operator fell behind, or a button wasn’t pressed at the right time.” After a thorough review of the process, a Rice Lake 920i FlexWeigh System 101 was selected to control the bulk packaging process.

The 920i FlexWeigh 101 system features a simple, rock-solid program that’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Empty container is placed on the scale
2. Container is automatically filled to a preset weight
3. Filled container is replaced with an empty container

With 920i FlexWeigh 101s in place, line stoppages no longer occur. The proverbial bottleneck which once existed in packaging has now spun its way back to processing. Increased packaging capacity has created a ravenous demand for more product. “I knew of Rice Lake by reputation,” Claude remembers, “but never had the chance to work with the products until this project. In the food industry, everything is very cut and dry. Either something works or it doesn’t; there aren’t very many shades of gray. The highest compliment I can give Rice Lake is that their stuff just works. I’m very happy with the results. One person can now run that packaging line without worrying about keeping an eye on the scale’s digital readout or scooping product in and out. They are free to allow the system to fill, build a few totes ahead of schedule, and come back when it’s done.” This was just the beginning. Click here to read the entire article.

New Requirements for Laboratory Balances?

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets globally-recognized standards for quality of medicines, food ingredients and dietary supplements developed and manufactured for human consumption. The USP’s guidelines recently underwent major revisions, and in December 2013, updates to Chapter 41 and 1251, which have an impact on weighing technology went into effect.

Chapter 41 focuses on the “requirement for balances used to weigh analytes for quantitative measures.” Balance repeatability and accuracy was once an area in which there was once much ambiguity, and the updates attempt to better define the parameters to be used when determining the appropriate minimum weight and operating range. The updates to Chapter 41 include increasing the number of balance tests from one to two, changing expansion factor from 3 to 2 and increasing the limit of repeatability test from ≤ 0.1% to ≤ 0.10% to reduce errors caused by rounding. Additionally, Chapter 41 addresses calibration weights for the first time, indicating that test weights should be between 5% and 100% of balance capacity.

Chapter 1251 has undergone major revisions focusing on balance qualification and operation. Among the new additions is a clear definition of minimum weight, which refers to the sample weight, and not tare or gross weight. Chapter 1251 also defines protocol for balance testing frequency, in order to ensure necessary testing is conducted and unnecessary testing can be eliminated, helping to improve laboratory efficiency. For example, a daily balance check, which is typical in many laboratories, is not actually a requirement. Instead, the type and frequency of balance checks should be determined by the risk and process tolerance of the application. Performing the right tests at the right intervals will ensure quality results and can potentially save time and money by eliminating unnecessary testing!

While the criteria listed in Chapter 41 is enforceable, Chapter 1251 includes recommendations for optimal results.

Defining guidelines and requirements for accurate and precise weighing from the outset will help assure accuracy during every phase of a project. OHAUS portfolio includes multiple balances, including the Explorer and Adventurer Pro, that conform to these guidelines and can assure that all weight determination in pharmaceutical compounding applications meet the criteria set forth by the USP. Click here to see the complete article courtesy of Ohaus.

Is the Ohaus Ranger 7000 The Right Scale For You?

Are you Tough Enough?

Flexible Enough?

Ranger 7000 is. Choose a Weigh below hook for density determination or below balance weighing. Die-cast metal housing and indicator that can be tower or bench mounted.

Introducing the All New Ohaus Ranger® Series of Compact Bench and Counting Scales. The all new Ranger is tough, precise, and ready for anything. The Ranger Series is the “go to” scale for the toughest jobs, with durable construction, user-friendly operation, and fast, precise weighing and measuring capabilities. Ranger. The Right Tool For The Toughest Jobs

Advanced Features Take Industrial Weighing to the Next Level
Ranger 7000 has ten advanced application modes for a variety of complex applications which minimize the need for manual calculations, and can also control peripheral devices and/or a scale platform with option kit.

Fast Performance and Legal for Trade Certifications assure Accurate Results
With a one second stabilization time, up to 75,000d or 350,000d display resolution and legal for trade certifications, Ranger 7000 provides the precision that cannot be matched by any scale in its class.

Sturdy Industrial and Modular Design Support Flexible and Heavy-Duty Use
Ranger 7000 was developed to thrive in rugged and harsh industrial environments. This modular scale was built with IP54 cast metal housing and sealed metal indicator to ensure durability. Continue reading

Quick Note of Thanks

The crawlspace of your home is often something you never think about, yet it’s really an integral part of maintaining your house (especially for those of us in the southern United States).

Damp and humid crawl spaces create conditions conducive to mold/mildew growth, deterioration of wood structural members, wood destroying insect infestation, buckling of hardwood flooring, and significantly decreased indoor air quality.

So with that being said, we just wanted to give a quick word of appreciation to Crawlspace Tech for giving us a little advice and feedback recently.  Based on their experience as home inspectors, they are able to design and implement a strategy for vastly improving the environment under a house, and can often do this at a better price than those “specialists”.  They also can design a solution for you to install yourself for a small fee.

They approach each situation as a building inspector and clearly define the line between necessary and excessive.  Once again, just wanted to say thanks and we appreciate your honest feedback and courtesy.

New Detecto PS30 Compact Digital Portion Scale

The NSF-certified stainless steel PS30 scale is versatile enough for use in food service portioning, industrial, shipping, plant processing, and general purpose weighing. DETECTO’s new model PS30 compact countertop portion scale boasts a hefty 30-lb/15-kg capacity. The digital scale weighs in pounds, ounces, both pounds and ounces, pounds and ounces with fractional 1/8th ounce, and kilograms. These selectable units may be preset to display only those desired by the user.

The scale’s IP65 washdown rating signifies that the durable PS30 is protected against dust and low-pressure water. This rating is perfectly suited for a commercial kitchen where heavy wash-down cleaning can be a daily necessity. The roomy stainless steel lift-off platform may be easily removed for frequent washing in food and chemical applications where a clean, sanitary surface is required.

The PS30 features five large 1-in (26-mm) high digits (plus fractional ounces) and a brilliant backlit blue LCD display that may be toggled on or off. Operation of the scale is simple with only four convenient buttons: Hold, Tare/Backlight, Units, and On/Off. Auto-zero circuitry ensures that zero is established on the power-up routine and is maintained throughout operation.

A low-battery indicator and automatic shut-off with adjustable timing conserve battery power and extend the life of the four AA batteries (not included). By adding the optional batteries, the PS30 has up to 110 hours of continuous use with the backlight off for all mobile weighing tasks such as farmers markets and roadside stands. An AC adapter is also provided with the scale for more fixed portioning applications.

The 30-lb capacity wasn’t achieved by trading counter space as the PS30 has a slim, compact design that leaves plenty of work space in even the tightest of countertops while still maintaining an ample 9.5-in W x 7.3-in D (24-cm W x 19-cm D) platter. Despite the higher capacity, the scale is still sensitive enough to weigh in 0.1-oz (2-g) increments, which accommodates the necessity of a perfectly balanced recipe or the precision of measuring corn, wheat or soybeans in an agricultural application.

Brecknell Discontinues DCSB 36 x 36 Floor Scale

If you’re in the market for a 3’x3′ floor scale you’ll need to read this. Effective immediately, Brecknell has discontinued the DCSB 36 x 36 platform scale and systems. Stock has been depleted.

Part Numbers include
56973-0013 …….. DCSB 36 x 36 Deck only
816965005345 …… DCSB 36 x 36 Deck with SBI-521 LED indicator

Recommended Replacement
The DSB Floor Scale or Scale System
816965006335 – DSB 36 x 36 Deck only
816965005390 – DSB 36 x 36 Deck with SBI-505 LED indicator

Rice Lake 880 Performance Series Panel Mount Indicator Controller

We’re all used to seeing digital weight indicators sitting on a table or perhaps mounted on a wall beside a floor scale. But, sometimes you need a digital weighing indicator that mounts inside a panel. That is where the Rice Lake Weighing Systems 880 panel mount indicator comes into play.

Rice Lake’s 880 Performance Series panel mount indicator delivers durability, function, and communication in a compact, intelligently designed enclosure, complete with easy-to-use menu keys and interface. The display’s sleek edges and industrial stainless steel construction keep the 880 functioning great even in washdown environments in many industries.

At just over four inches deep, the 880’s small enclosure can be DIN rail-mounted and delivers great performance with its expansive communication and control features. The 880 can operate as a standalone controller or connect to a vast range of networking protocols and PLCs. Built for fast communication, the controller comes complete with serial, Ethernet, USB ports and an option slot for analog output or protocol interfaces.

Standard Features
•LED Display, 0.56 inch (14 mm), 14 segments
•RS-232 or RS-485 Serial Port
•USB Device
•Ethernet TCP/IP
•AC or DC models
•Built-in DIN-rail clips on controller box
•Display and controller can be separated up to 250 ft
•Hardware slot for one option card
•Operator functions through Menu key for Audit Trail, Preset Tare, Accumulator, Time & Date and Setpoints
•Audit trail tracking for configuration and calibration changes. Password protection for user and configuration changes.
•20 Setpoints with latched batch engine or unlatched outputs
•Four onboard digital I/O channels
•Programmable ticket formats up to 1000 characters for Header Text, Gross, Net, Accumulator, Setpoints
•Local/Remote operation
•Multi range or multi interval weighing
•Filter settings for light, medium and heavy noise

Options and Accessories
•Analog output, 16-bit resolution, 0-10 V DC, 0-20 mA, 4-20 mA
•Relay output, (4) dry contact, normally open (SPST) 30 VDC/250 VAC at 3 Amps
•Interface for ProfiNet®, Profibus®, Modbus TCP®, EtherNet/IP™, and DeviceNet® protocols
•Metrological hardware sealing kit
•Adapter plate for converting 310A and 520 panel mounts

For more information on this versatile digital weight indicator, please click here.

New! Brecknell 3800LP Bench Scales With SBI-505 Indicator

Coming soon there will be a new Brecknell bench scale system available. The New 3800LP Bench Series calibrated with SBI-505 LED Indicator. The Brecknell 3800LP is an easy to use, reliable and affordable scale ideal for applications in production, packaging and shipping/receiving areas. Functions either as a counting, check weighing or general weighing scale. This self-contained industrial scale with RS-232 interface allows you to communicate directly with your PC. Comes standard with DB9 connection with time and date.

Scale Base: 20″ L x 20″ W x 3″ H
Scale Base with Indicator: 26″ L x 20″ W x 37″ H

PART # ………………… CAPACITY
816965006298 – 75 kg / 150 lb
816965006304 – 150 kg / 300 lb
816965006311 – 300 kg / 600 lb

Brecknell Discontinues the S122 Electronic Bench Scale

Effective immediately, Brecknell has discontinued the S122 Electronic Bench Scale. Brecknell will continue to ship from the current inventory against orders on a first come first served basis.

Discontinued P/Ns:
S122 Electronic Bench Scale
816965001163 – 5 kg / 150 lb – 20″ x 16.5″
816965001170 – 150 kg / 300 lb – 20″ x 16.5″
816965001187 – 300 kg / 600 lb – 20″ x 16.5″

Recommended Replacement
The NEW 3800LP Bench Series calibrated with SBI-505 Indicator
816965006298 – 75 kg / 150 lb – 20″ x 20″
816965006304 – 150 kg / 300 lb – 20″ x 20″
816965006311 – 300 kg / 600 lb – 20″ x 20″

Why Use Counting Scales?

Often times we see lots of websites talking about counting scales. They go on and on about all the great features of the scale. But, why do you even need to use one?  Can’t you just count out your parts by hand? Actually, an accurate counting scale can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.

Here are four reasons to purchase a counting scale:
•Labor Reduction – Counting parts and identifying boxes by hand requires extensive manual labor. A counting scale can reduce labor time and with the addition of barcode scanning and labeling, the total time of your transaction is reduced as well.
•Material Saving – Shipping too many or too few parts can mean losing money or losing a customer.
•Inventory Accuracy – Cycle counting improves inventory accuracy, which in turn, can result in increased productivity.
•Customer Service – Having the right parts at the right time is essential for excellent customer service.

An accurate counting scale can be used in various part of your facility.

Here are at least five places you can use a counting scale:
•Receiving – Accurately verify the count of received goods.
•Stockroom – Eliminate overages to the production floor and keep items in the stockroom.
•Production – A precise count of goods sent to production floor keeps the assembly line moving and on schedule.
•Quality Control – Fast cycle counting and package-count checks keep profits in your plant and customers happy.
•Shipping – Eliminate over-shipments of products. Find extra parts and assemblies before the customer does.

Sample size
The minimum sample size recommended is 10 pieces. The larger the sample size used, however, the better average piece weight obtained. Many companies use 25, 50 or 100 units per sample to achieve the best accuracy. We recommend sampling 100 pieces to achieve the best accuracy, however, a larger sample quantity introduces an element of human error. Ten groups of 10 should be counted out by hand, then placed on the scale as a 100-piece sample.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining a sample size:
•Is a 10-piece sample sufficient weight on the platform? The sample should be at minimum 0.1% of the total capacity.
•How uniform are the parts being weighed? A larger sample size provides sufficient data to determine the most accurate unit weight. The piece-weight enhancement feature of the DIGI scales assists in sampling larger sizes accurately.

Sample operation of a counting scale
Most businesses have invested in a scale or scales to assist in counting small parts, kits, sub-assemblies or finished goods.

To refresh ourselves of good scale fundamentals, in principal, most scales operate in the following way:
1. Operators place a small sample of the item that they wish to count onto the scale, for example, 10 pieces
2. They enter 10 pieces by entering “ten” (10) or “sample”
3. The scale displays 10 pieces.
4. The operator puts the desired quantity of the parts on the scale to get a total count.

Due to differences in sensitivities and a wide array of part size from small to large, some companies have invested in several scales, many of which have varying features such as battery operation, integrated printers, and integrated bar code readers. The diversity of scales truly require a networked scale system that stores and shares data. One sample can be weighed one time and saved for use by all scales in the network. This saves an incredible amount of time and promotes accuracy and consistency throughout the entire system.

Optimizing Accuracy with a Counting Scale
The most misunderstood parameter of a counting scale is accuracy. A number of factors determine counting accuracy.
1. The weighing accuracy of the scale—the scale must be sized correctly for the weighed parts.
2. Accuracy of the computed piece weight—this will be determined by the internal count of the scale and the parts themselves.
3. Variance of the part—are the weighed parts uniform in size? Machine and material variations result in different part weights.
4. Sample size—minimum recommended sample size is 10. Many companies use 100-piece samples or piece-weight enhancement programs to achieve better accuracy.
5. Operator of the scale—errors occur with improper operation of the scale.
6. Environment—scales must be placed away from drafts of open windows, doors or heat/air vents.

Click here to find out more information.