Dynamic Checkweighers for Industry 4.0 – What Every Food Manufacturer Should Know!
Higher speeds, more dynamic product changes and smaller packaging sizes call for even more flexibility in product handling and place even greater demands on weighing accuracy. Sound familiar? Read our latest Q&A blog post with Frank Borrmann, Market Manager at Mettler-Toledo Garvens, to discover how our new range of C-Series dynamic checkweighers is aligned to the demands of the market and competition of tomorrow…
Mr Borrmann, why should the packaging industry switch to the new models?
The C-series is a new family of dynamic checkweighers designed with the requirements of Industry 4.0 environments in mind, which consistently addresses future competitive demands today. They are designed for high conveyor speeds and small packaging sizes and are an excellent choice for automated packaging lines with many product changeovers. Furthermore, straightforward set-up and configuration make it extremely easy for users to use the new checkweighers from day one, and enjoy their reliability, productivity and regulatory conformity.
Could you provide us with a quick overview of the Dynamic Checkweighers C-series?
The family comprises three main product ranges: We have the entry-level models of the C31 StandardLine, the midmarket checkweighers of the C33 PlusLine, and the high-end models of the C35 AdvancedLine. As such, we are in a position to meet customer requirements across all sectors and different sizes of business.
Does that mean that you also offer suitable solutions for smaller and medium-sized businesses?
Of course. The models in the C31 StandardLine, for example, cover the most common standard applications in dry or wet environments with their weighing range of up to six kilograms and their throughput of 200 units per minute. They are perfectly tailored to the requirements of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) both in terms of price and scope.
And for growing demands, people can buy the C33 and C35 series?
Exactly, the checkweighers in the C33 PlusLine offer the same functions as the StandardLine, but cover a larger weighing range and higher throughput rates, and achieve a bit more precision. The models in the C35 AdvancedLine represent the next step up in terms of scope and performance, compared to the C33 PlusLine. They have a weighing range of between three grams and ten kilograms. Their throughput rates, meanwhile, are an outstanding 600 units per minute – with the kind of excellent weighing accuracy that you might expect from a flagship product.
Which target group will benefit in particular from the new models?
From our perspective, the greatest strength of the new dynamic checkweighers lies in their flexibility and openness: They are available with a range of different equipment and configuration options, with the option to add application-specific components where required, and can be seamlessly integrated into the customer’s production and IT environment via open interfaces. As such, the C-series is of most interest for companies who want to use their dynamic checkweighers to integrate and optimize their processes, and not just use them as simple stand-alone systems.
Which takes us back to “Industry 4.0,” the keyword mentioned at the start, right?
Correct. The increasing digitalization of production and packaging lines is opening up countless opportunities to reduce costs, optimize processes and increase efficiency. That’s why our main focus was on the interfaces right from the very start when we were designing the new C-series – and not just for the top models, but across the entire portfolio. All models offer a broad range of open interfaces, from the RS232 interface, to fieldbus standards such as PROFINET, to the OPC DA/UA. This means that they can communicate with IT, other inspection systems and upstream and downstream systems on the line at any time.
And what does this look like in current practice?
In day-to-day operation, checkweighers on the packaging line record a wide range of fascinating information, such as quantities, downtimes and rejection rates. In order to link this key data with other process data, systematically evaluate it and document it without any gaps, however, an interface to central IT is required. This is an important step, both with regard to observing rules and guidelines, and with regard to potentially optimizing processes. Furthermore, using the same interfaces makes it possible to centralize control of the systems. Line operators can thus take care of routine item changes for multiple sites at the click of a mouse and optimize maintenance processes in the long term. This enables them to avoid downtimes and increase the efficiency of their packaging lines.
And what about integrating the checkweighers into the line?
That is the next step – and an area that is undergoing rapid further development at the moment. This means, for example, that dynamic checkweighers in the C-series will be able to re-adjust upstream systems on the line today and automate their configuration. One good example is filling: If one of our checkweighers records an overfill or underfill, it automatically signals to the filling system that the fill quantity needs to be re-adjusted. The error can then be resolved without any manual intervention using control algorithms, and a consistently high product quality can be ensured.
Are there other areas in which it is worth pressing ahead with networking?
In product inspection, there is a clear trend toward integrating various technologies – such as checkweighers, metal detectors, and x-ray inspection systems – more closely and, ideally, bringing them together in one device. This trend is largely motivated by quite practical considerations – the financial benefits of consolidation aside. There is limited floor space at the end of the packaging line. Every centimeter is important. For this reason, we also offer the C-series checkweighers as combination systems. The C31 StandardLine and the C33 PlusLine are available as a space-saving 2-in-1 system consisting of a checkweigher and metal detector, and the C35 is available as a turnkey combined solution with a metal detector or x-ray inspection system, depending on requirements. The benefits are obvious: Firstly, operation is more straightforward because the product and configuration changes can be made on one single device. Secondly, system maintenance takes less time. And thirdly, rather mundanely, but for many customers the main argument: you only need one connection for the power supply and one network connection at the end of the line.
Many thanks for talking to us, Mr Borrmann.
Don’t miss next week’s blog to see a video of the C35 AdvancedLine Checkweigher in action!
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