Filling A Fixed Weight Box with Random Weight Products

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Dec 11, 2013

If you are producing a random weight product and are packing them into a case that is being sold at a fixed weight, we can help maximize your efficiency and profit.

In this instance, we worked with a major cheese manufacturer that was producing 8 ounce bricks of cheese and packing them into 10 pound boxes. The system used to size the 8 ounce portions of cheese did not yield perfect results. Weights would range from 0.47 lbs (7.52 oz) to 0.53 lbs (8.48 oz).

sorting systems

The process they were using had the bricks of cheese going across the pricing scale and then being automatically labeled. The bricks would go off of the end of the scale onto a large round rotating table where several people would grab the bricks and fill boxes that were sitting on scales, and using trial and error, would swap out bricks until the box would reach 10 pounds. The people filling the boxes were supposed to use exactly 20 bricks and were to do their best to get as close to 10 pounds as possible.

This was labor intensive, fast-paced work that was very prone to human error.  We were asked to see if we could come up with a more efficient way.

What we developed worked extremely well. We hooked into the existing pricing scale to send the weight for each package to our controller. Our controller was then able to track each package and how much it weighed through the new system.

With the new system, we set up a conveyor with 10 sorting stations, five on each side of the conveyor. As the bricks entered the system, the controller would make a decision based on each brick’s weight as to what station that brick would be sorted into. If that station’s weight was running light, it would get a brick that was heavier.

sorting systems

As each station’s box would get full, the controller would quit sending bricks to that station and turn on an indicator light to let the operator know that the box was full. At that time, the box could be slid forward onto another conveyor, and an empty box could be reinserted into that station. The operator would then press a reset button, and the controller would start filling that station again.

The system worked extremely well and only required one person on each side of the conveyor. The work was not nearly as fast-paced and the chance for human error was virtually eliminated.

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