One customer problem we see often is knowing when an in-motion monorail scale is getting to the end of its expected life. Just like any other machine, monorail scales can’t last forever, but that is just a part of the natural way of things in a rugged industrial environment. Recognizing the early warning signs is a very important step.
If you have an old monorail scale in your plant, you probably remember a time when it was dead
Over time, you will most likely see a trend of increasing recalibrations. Maybe you start having to recalibrate every month, and then every week, and finally, every day. You might not even be able to see a physical change. These are good signs that the scale has aged and that either serious maintenance is needed, or you might have to consider a new scale.
At that point for a monorail scale, maintenance might not cut it. Load cells, summing cards, and rails can all be replaced, but fatigue will start to wear at the scale as a whole.
Pretending that nothing is wrong with an old scale is dangerous because it threatens your business in multiple ways. If the scale accuracy is constantly drifting throughout the day, you could start to lose money little by little on each carcass. For a high volume plant, this can add up dangerously fast.
Even worse is the possibility that the scale could fail entirely if pushed too far. Without a working scale, you could suffer a major lack of production that could severely damage both your profit and your reputation. It is best to plan ahead so that you never get to that point.
Most scales have an estimated lifespan available which you shouldn’t take for granted. Of course, proper preventive maintenance goes a long way towards getting the maximum life out of the scale. Unlike many other scales out there, we build our high accuracy in-motion monorail scales with an incredible amount of longevity. With a rugged design and stainless steel construction, we can extend the life of our monorail scales up to 10 years.
If you have an old monorail scale to replace, our HA in-motion monorails will get you the most accurate weighments available, and it will be a long time before it runs out of steam. Don’t wait too long for a quality upgrade because if you do, it might be too late.
We had a customer who once purchased an in-motion monorail scale from us in the painted steel variety, and it worked very well for them, but the day came when they decided to upgrade their whole facility. They initially wanted to keep the same scale, but that would turn out to be difficult. Since the installation of the first scale, cleaning chemicals and processes have changed immensely to a much more corrosive variety. Because of the condition of their scale, it didn’t quite meet up to
modern standards. They were using it daily up until the date of remodeling. The overhaul of their plant dictated that it would have to be replaced.
Their only real remaining option was to buy a new monorail scale. To meet modern standards and improvements, we outfitted them with a new high-accuracy in-motion monorail scale. It was more advanced and had stainless steel construction that put it several steps above its predecessor. Moving scales is difficult with these standards, so we are always available for a quality upgrade.
A different plant moved a scale of ours from one location to another, and while it initially seemed to go well, they found another problem. The issue was in their structural support for the scale.
After setting up a new structure and moving the scale, they started to notice regularly decreasing accuracy. Our service team eventually came to inspect it and quickly found the problem. When it was installed, the scale placement was spot on and accuracy was high, but the plant’s physical structure actually settled so that the scale structure was lower than the rest of the rail. This caused stress on the scale through shock loading which caused it to wear down faster and have inaccurate weighments.
We were able to solve all of these issues before the plants got in serious trouble because we have numerous years of experience with monorail scales. If you are looking for service or repair on monorail scales or a high quality replacement, you can be sure that we can do that for you. Get in touch with us today.
Weighing carcasses over a monorail scale comes along with far more difficulties than people sometimes realize, but with the proper application, it can provide you with very accurate weighments. One issue that comes up in plants regularly is the use of something called, “hold back dogs.”
Rather than the animal, “dogs” in this case are metal stops which attach to overhead chains in order to manipulate the trolleys. Most overhead chains, including the one on our high-accuracy monorail scale, make use of push dogs. These sit behind trolleys on the chain and push them forward through the system.
Hold-back dogs do the exact opposite. They keep trolleys from moving too far ahead and colliding with other carcasses. It is a useful function, but can cause some problems with monorail scales if not handled correctly.
The push dogs on our monorail scale chain are there to pull the trolley ahead of the overhead chain so it can isolate it for weighing accuracy. To do this, our chain usually needs to run faster than the overhead chain, but the hold-back dog works against this purpose.
Occasionally, when our scale pushes the trolley forward, it can run it into the hold-back dog which causes the trolley to tilt up or stop momentarily. In turn, this makes the carcass swing around, and that can throw your scale weight off if it occurs while the trolley is going over the scale. It can even wear out or break chains if it happens often enough.
That being said, we have figured out some ways to eliminate this problem.
One of the easiest things to do, besides removing the hold-back dogs altogether, is wiring the monorail scale straight into the electronics which control the overhead chain. The scale then tries to match its speed as close as possible to the overhead chain while still taking the load. This ensures that the chain isn’t pushed too far ahead and that it doesn’t contact the hold-back dog in front of it. This also means that the scale chain will stop and start whenever the overhead chain starts and stops.
Besides that, it is possible to spread out the hold-back and push dogs, but this can hamper their functionality, especially when dealing with a whole beef carcass that needs to be supported by two trolleys.
From time to time, regular plant functions can come into conflict with new machines and processes, but we have the experience to resolve many of those issues. Let us help you with any in-motion monorail needs you might have.
If you are going to be competitive and stay profitable, you need to put information into and through your Hot Scale Station effectively and accurately.
It takes an efficient monorail scale system and Human Machine Interface (HMI) to accomplish these tasks.
In the case of a in-motion or dynamic monorail scales, let’s look at top end speed as measured by the National Type Evaluation Program, or NTEP. (NTEP has been established by The National Conference On Weights And Measures as a means of ensuring national standards are met before equipment is allowed in the market place).
Weighments Per Hour
Swine: This single specification tells volumes about the capability of this product. The NTEP Certificate of Conformance says the scale can process 2,150 hogs per hour. The same for lambs. That is productivity. That is ROI.
How much more ROI and productivity than the competition? Brand X tops out at 1,700 weighments per hour. Brand Y redlines at a mere 1,320 weighments per hour.
Beef: The difference is just as stark in beef processing plants. Our High Accuracy (HA) Monorail can process beef carcasses at a blazing fast 1,100 drafts per hour. Brand X and Brand Y share second place with 900 weighments per hour.
With all those trolleys going through with all that speed a plant manager might suspect there is a trade off in scale capacity. But once again, our HA Monorail stands tall with a capacity of 750 lbs. Brand X is limited to 600 lbs. Brand Y can only handle 500 lbs for its hog and lamb scale and 700 lbs for its beef model.
Once you put the cash in the register, why would you want to take some back out and give it away due to rounding or the division size of your Hot Scale?
Our HA Monorail Scale is the leader with an NTEP approved division size of 0.2 lbs.
Depending on the indicator selected, Brand X can be limited to 0.5 lbs, as is Brand Y. Brand Y only gets to the 0.2 lb sensitivity for its hog and lamb scale model.
From the purchase price to the amount of return on investment you can generate, it’s clear that comparison is worth your effort!
Every meat processing/packing plant weighs and moves carcasses of the animals they are processing on rails.
Now, think about weighing each and every animal that comes through your plant. In order to get accurate weights for each animal, what is the one thing you need to know?
You need to know the weight of the trolley that the animal is hanging on. You could weigh a few trolleys and use the average weight of those as the tare weight for all trolleys, but without the weight of each trolley, any carcass weight is only an estimation of what that animal actually weighs.
So you might wonder, how can you get the weight of every trolley and how can you use those weights to know accurately the weight of each animal? The solution to this problem is an in-motion trolley scale.
After hours/days/years of use (and abuse), the weight of each trolley will change. Even new trolleys might not weigh exactly the same. In order to accurately weigh the carcasses, the weight of each trolley must be known and trolleys that become too heavy or too light should be removed from the rotation.
A good in-motion trolley scale will weigh each trolley and, based on settable upper and lower weight limits, drop the trolley off the rail so it can either be fixed or thrown away.
In order to keep track of and use each individual trolley weight, a trolley tracking system such as Vande Berg Scales patented Trolley Vision® system can be used with the in-motion trolley scale to be able to subtract the tare weight of each specific trolley from each carcass weight to get accurate carcass weights.