Weighing is critical in food manufacturing – it takes place at almost every stage of the production process.
From weighing raw materials to the vehicles carrying finished goods, it’s important that the scales are accurate, reliable and, where appropriate, legal for use.
You can find out more about where and why weighing in food factories takes place, how it can help increase outputs and how it can reduce costs in this free guide – and when you are ready to choose your scales, this blog post can help.
What to know first?
If a good is being sold based on its weight, then legally the scale used for weighing must be Trade Approved. Everything you need to know about Trade Approved scales can be found in this blog post. You also need to show clearly the weight on the outer packaging of the product – find out more here.
Food factories can benefit from a scale with an IP rating, which not only protects the scale from water damage but also means it can be cleaned to keep the scale hygienic – an essential for any food factory. IP68 is fully waterproof meaning it can be completely submerged in water – as this photograph shows.
Scales with data transfer mean that weight information can be transferred directly to a PC or printed out. Highly useful if a proof of weight is needed, for internal recordkeeping or Trading Standards.
Weighing raw materials
The quantity of ingredients being weighed will influence which weighing scales you need. Whereas many small establishments may only need bench scales, larger operations will benefit from more automated weighing processes.
Small solutions for weighing ingredients
B-100: This bench scale is Marsden’s best-selling stainless steel scale. It has an IP68 rating meaning it can be hosed down after use. It features an internal rechargeable battery and has capacity and graduation options ranging from 3kg x 0.2g to 30kg x 5g.
AGT-C: This bench/floor scale is also IP68 rated. It has a 304 food grade base and bright LED display – a choice of base sizes are available. It has a hi/lo alarm, Tare and Counting functions.
More sophisticated ingredients weighing
HSS scale with the JIK-APP indicator: This bench scale is Trade Approved for buying/selling based on weight and is also IP67 rated. A hi/lo alarm means weight targets can be customised and a traffic light will indicate when a target has been reached. The JIK indicator can be connected to a PC or printer for data transfer.
Stainless Steel Platform with the I-500 indicator: This scale is built for applications like recipe formulation. It has a 16 input/outputs available and can turn feeds on and off in a sequence. This means, if three different feeds of ingredients need to be weighed, the scale will switch off the feed for the first ingredient when it meets a predefined weight target. Using automated weighing can speed up processes whilst reducing the potential for human error.
Checking production weight
Laws are tight on ensuring product weights are correct in order to protect the customer. In 2015, supermarket giant TESCO was fined £21,000 for displaying incorrect weights on a packet of nuts. Check weighing scales are used in food factories to check for under and overweight items, check volumes or density, measure raw/unwrapped food prior to packaging, checking for missing components, verifying counts for warehouse or delivery and much more.
JWE: This bench scale has a choice of accuracies, to 0.1g. It has a large stainless steel weighing pan and Hold, Zero, Accumulation and Counting functions. An RS-232 output means weight data can be transferred to an external printer, computer or database.
MSS with the JIK indicator: This bench scale has a multifunctional checkweighing indicator for weighing or counting. An RS-232 interface board comes as standard with this model, so that data can be sent from the scale to a printer. Data can also be recorded automatically in a spreadsheet, direct from the scale.
Weighing and moving goods
Pallet truck scales allow factory operatives to move and weigh palletised goods simultaneously. This speeds up the weighing process as it means raw ingredients can be taken directly to storage, and packaged goods to dispatch areas.
PT-450: This pallet truck scale is waterproof to IP68 making it purpose built for harsh environments, particularly washdown areas. It has Tare, Gross and Zero functions, 500g graduations and 2000kg capacity (bespoke capacities are also available). An internal rechargeable battery provides 40 hours of continuous use.
PT-600: This pallet truck scale also has a 2000kg capacity and provides weight readings to 500kg. It has a bright red 32mm LED display and a built-in printer, allowing you to keep a record of weight, accumulation and count data.
Weighing outgoing goods
After goods have been packed they need to be weighed to ensure they can be transported safely. This can be done with a robust, high capacity scale: such as a platform, drive thru, u frame, weigh beam or pit mounted scale.
Platform Scale with I-100-APP indicator: This Trade Approved scale has a choice of capacities and graduations – up to 3000kg. The surface of the scale is sold and hard-wearing – alternatively, stainless steel platform scales are available.
Pit Mounted Scale with the JIK-APP indicator: A pit mounted scale is ideal for areas that are lacking space, or require a permanently-positioned weighing scale for regular weighing tasks. This scale features a hi/lo alarm and is suitable for weight data transfer, to a printer or PC.
It is an offence to drive on a public road in an overloaded vehicle, according to the Road Traffic Act. Failure to adhere to this law can result in heavy penalties, so it is important that the vehicle is weighed to ensure it is within weight boundaries.
AP-200: This axle weigh pad consists of waterproof, portable pads and a touchscreen indicator. Each pad has a capacity of 10 tonnes - so upto 20 tonnes per axle can be weighed. A built-in printer means vehicle weight data can be printed out and stored.
For more information about any of the industrial scales listed above, call Marsden on 01709 364296 or contact us here.