Process weighing plays a critcial role in a wide variery of industries. Reliability, accuracy and performance are becoming increasingly important in our difficult economic climate as businesses strive to reduce waste and increase efficiency and productivity.
Process weighing is a complex process that can be divided into several different areas, each with its own basic and specific requirements. Each area needs to be individually assessed to see where improvements can be made in order to make your business more efficient.
These areas are:
- Basic level control
- Stock/inventory control
- Batching and blending
- Recipe formulation
- Loss in weight
- Bulk discharge weighing
- Filling and decanting
Load Cell Selection Is Key
Load cells form the basis of over 99% of process weighing systems. Selecting the correct type and capacity is vitally important, and several criteria need to be considered:
- The dead weight of the weighing system
- Its overall carrying capacity
- Its working range
- What are the overload requirements (wind forces, vibration etc.)
- What environment will the system be used in (i.e. will it come into contact with checmicals or extreme changes in temperatures, for example)
- How accurate do you need it to be?
- Legislative requirements
Factors such as the dead weight of the vessel and the overload requirements can reduce the the live working range of the load cells (which in turn affects the available electrical output). This can have a significant effect of the overall performance of the weighing system, underlining the importance of ensuring load cells are of the highest quality.
The Impact of Technology
Advances in electronics and software development have had a huge impact on process weighing systems, improving their versatilty, and increasing the importance of the role they play in overall operational efficiency.
Businesses are able to take advantage of the huge range of dedicated instrumentation, software systems and interfaces now available, bringing real-time, bi-directional communication between the factory floor and essential management systems such as ERP and FactoryTalk, to name a few. The need for local PCs has been done away with in many applications as versatile color touch screen control terminals become more and more commonplace. These can easily be user-defined and bring with them significant advantages in terms of streamlining and symplifying data capture and analysis.