Measuring production with a conveyor flow scale is vital to any plant. You’ve got to know how much your facility is producing each and every day. For many meat plants, that can be a labor-intensive endeavor.
How much does it cost to accumulate product in a combo, transport that combo to a floor scale via a fork lift, capture the weight of the combo, record that weight, and tabulate the results?
The answer is often “too much”.
If that is a process that sounds familiar, you may have a cost-effective alternative available. Imagine being able to gather accumulated weight totals regardless of product spacing or flow without having the scale attended by an operator.
Our patented flow scale is the ideal tool for many plants. Meat products such as trim, ground beef, ribs, loins, bellies, and poultry can be accurately measured with flow scales. Also, bulk material handling of small products is appropriate for flow scales, along with fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and dry chemicals.
Weighing accuracy of less than one percent error are typical.
A single conveyor flow scale is generally appropriate for smaller bulk materials or smaller granular products.
For larger products, such as bone-in loins for example, a three-conveyor design (an in-feed conveyor, the scale conveyor, and an exit conveyor) will give better results.
If you’d like to know how much your facility is producing, but you’d rather not go through the trouble and expense of staffing a collection area, a scale, and a means of transport, then see if a flow scale will do the job for you.
A flow scale is designed to accumulate weighment data on bulk materials.
Although this scale is not NTEP certified, it is a highly accurate conveyor scale with an error rate of one percent or less!
This type of scale is designed to eliminate the labor intensive practice of manually moving product to a static scale for the purpose of gathering the accumulation data and operations verification.
The conveyor flow scale operates continuously as material flows across the conveyor.
It simply grabs the weight on the scale at specified points of belt movement.
The points are electronically encoded according to each complete revolution of the conveyor belt on the scale itself.
The tuning-in of this process with the actual product is what provides the accuracy you are looking for.
The flow scale is customized and manufactured according to the type of product, the flow speed of the product, and of course the environment in which it’s to be utilized.
For example, design may be for an area of intense wash down requirements in a food processing facility.
Thus, construction would be required to be of USDA-approved materials.
Regardless of the area of use, stainless steel is the material of choice for strength and durability.
The outstanding feature of a flow scale is that it weighs inconsistently spaced product.
Product could be in a granular form, in a constant flow, or singular items progressing on the conveyor at a rapid pace, but in chaotic form and space.
Although the flow scale is designed for unattended operation, visual inspection should occur periodically to account for possible product buildup.
Even though automatic weight zeroing does occur at consistent intervals, one should always strive to eliminate any possible problem areas affecting weighment.
Flow scales gather weight information as desired over specified time periods.
This information can be displayed as necessary, or utilized in a control system.
A conveyor flow scale can be a valuable tool as you strive for efficiency!
Two Scales, Two Purposes: In-Motion (Dynamic) Checkweighers VS. In-Motion (Dynamic) Flow Scales
We talk regularly about our in-motion flow scales and checkweigher scales, but the difference between them isn’t always clear.
Though they may look similar, the difference is rather simple. Both products make use of conveyors and load cells in a similar fashion, but they have very different applications.
“Flow” usually describes something transient (over time), and that is where the flow scale gets it’s name and function.
A flow scale accumulates the weight of products passing over it in a given period of time, whereas in-motion checkweighers and in-motion conveyor scales weigh individual products giving a separate individual weight for each item that crosses the scale.
A plant might use an In-motion Flow Scale to see the gross amount of product that they go through in a set time span (day/hour/minute), which can be helpful for plant management by ensuring that your processes are running as smoothly as possible.
Flow scales are very helpful in applications that weigh a small product in bulk like nuts, grains, meat scraps, vegetables, etc.
On the other hand, an in-motion checkweigher motion conveyor scale is meant to weigh a single product at a time. This is particularly effective for weigh price labeling, net container content verification, box labeling, packing, or anything that demands precision measurements on a single item.
See our complete line of in-motion conveyor scales
For these reasons, our in-motion checkweighers / in-motion conveyor scales are often NTEP certified while our flow scales are not.
Flow scales can’t be certified because the data that they provide is not used to price goods.
Rather, they provide useful information on large flow of batches of goods.
Another difference between in motion checkweighers and flow scales is that in-motion checkweighers often employ diverts/rejects, while this is not common with flow scales. This is due to the fact that in-motion checkweighers can individually reject and sort different products, while that isn’t a possibility in most flow scale applications.
Checkweighers and flow scales are quite different machines, so make sure that you have the right type of conveyor scale to match your operation.
Conveyor flow scales come in handy when you want a very precise, accurate weighment of an individual product, but what happens when you are looking for the weight totals of a stream or flow of a particular product?
A lot of plants would find it beneficial to have weight averages and totals for outgoing bulk product, and this is exactly what you get when using a flow scale.
The scale constantly takes weighments and reports accumulated totals whenever the user desires.
It could be used to count weight totals for a series of individual products, but it is best used with smaller bulk products.
The flow scale can handle many different materials.
They can be used for meat trim, eggs, grains, and even non-food products like gravel, for example.
This makes it good for seeing how much product is used in a batching process.
There are a few things to be wary about when using a flow scale.
The first is that there needs to be gaps in product flow occasionally to allow the scale to have time to re-zero itself. This ensures that your readings wouldn’t be higher than normal.
Another thing to be cautious of is accumulating product.
When conveying products that are sticky or like to cling to the belting in some way, it is possible that weight can start to build up on the flow scale conveyor.
This is dangerous because the scale is taking constant periodic weighments.
If excess weight stays on the belt, it is going to be continuously added to the total, potentially causing a large rise in your weight data.
This is best taken care of with periodic cleaning and recalibration.
The scale is not, nor does it need to be, legal-for-trade because it is not weighing on a per-item basis, but that doesn’t decrease its usefulness in the least.
If you are looking for a good way to get accurate plant totals, get in contact with us about our flow scales ASAP!
Do you need to know the amount of outgoing product or the yield of a process, but don’t need individual weights or don’t want to put the money and time into buying a checkweigher or conveyor scale?
This is actually a common need and something easily fulfilled by a quality flow scale.
A flow scale gets its name because it can gather data from uninterrupted flows of product.
While flow scales are not readily capable of performing individual weighments, they are perfect for providing accurate daily totals.
How do daily totals save you money?
Think of the tedious process used in the industry of having product flow into a container and then weighing that entire container on a separate floor or deck scale.
The line stoppages and poor work flow result in wasted time, wasted labor, and excess equipment.
Why a flow scale instead of a checkweigher or conveyor scale?
A big difference between flow scales and other conveyor scales is the way in which they sense products. Conveyor scales use calibrated photo eyes to notify the system when a product is entering the measurement area.
Flow scales are simpler in the sense that they are taking weighments non-stop so they don’t need to sense a product’s approach. They do this by taking one weighment for every length of scale that cycles over the live area.
This ensures that nothing can pass over the scale without its weight being collected in some way.
This comes in handy for products that are longer than the scale’s live area.
Since there is only one weighment per scale length, this way of measuring ensures that each section of a long product or portion of a flowing product will be weighed and recorded only once.
The flow scale knows when one scale length has passed, because it uses an encoding wheel, not a timer, which measures how far the flow scale’s belt has traveled based on the rotations of the drive shaft.
Like any other scale variety, flow scales fill a unique position in industry.
If this sounds like something you could use in your plant, let us know what you are looking for, and we’ll help you decide whether a flow scale works for you.