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Force Measurement for Efficiency in Food Processing and Packaging

Interface provides the food processing and packaging industry with sensor technologies that increase efficiency and reduce waste. Like many industrial facilities, organizations are pushing hard to integrate new technology and automation that makes processes faster, more adaptable, and smart.

One of the factors critical to creating a smarter factory is by utilizing force measurement sensors that are designed for collecting data in each production phase, as well as monitoring equipment in use for performance optimization.

Interface has a wide variety of precision-based accurate and reliable sensors used for various applications in food processing and packaging. Our customers are using miniature load cells within the production line to apply the exact force needed to delicately press a logo onto a edible product. We have others using multi-axis sensors from Interface to verify accuracy of intricately machined parts while moving through the manufacturing process.

We’ve provided sensors for industrial automation solutions to thousands of customers using in-stock as well as custom application-specific sensors for OEM equipment. Read our Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry OEM case study to learn more.

Below are additional examples that highlight uses case of actual applications in food processing and packaging.  You can see additional industrial application highlights in our solutions overview by clicking here.

Commercial Food Processing

A food processing plant wanted accurate results of their in-motion check weigher when food is weighed and processed while moving down the belt.  A check weigher is an automated machine for checking the weight of packaged commodities. This included ensuring production line efficiency and food quality, real-time results of their food being weighed, and a load cell that can endure the food industry’s soiled environment.

Interface offered a solution using multiple SPI High-Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells that could be installed in the customer’s equipment that is sued through the production line where product is weighed on the conveyor. The SPI High-Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells delivers precise weighing data. When connected to the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, the solution provides the customer real-time results of the weight of the food. The 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller can also read up to four scale channels in real-time. The processing gains in efficiency were visualized and managed during the weighing process to optimize control and production. 

Water Bottle Dispensing and Weighing

A beverage bottle manufacturer wanted to dispense the right amount of fluid into their bottles, and then weigh their bottles to ensure it is at the labeled weight on their product packaging. This is both to minimize waste, but also to meet the standard requirements noted on the packaging. Interface suggested using the MBP Miniature Beam Load Cell, and attaching it under a plate or platform the water bottle is placed on while it is being filled with fluids. The force weight is measured by the MBP Miniature Beam Load Cell, and connected to the 9870 High-Speed High-Performance TEDS Ready Indicator where results are captured, displayed, and recorded by the customer utilizing their water bottle assembly machinery. With this solution, the water bottle manufacturer received highly accurate results of each water bottle being weighed in real-time, using the accuracy to reduce waste and speed processing time.

Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine                     

A snack manufacturing brand wanted to weigh the amount of consumable food product automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process. In this case, they needed to weigh their potato chips being packaged and ensure the potato chips are at the exact weight needed due to regulatory standards. Interface’s solution was to use multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells and install it to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips bag fill are read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer was able to control the automated production from their command center.

The customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged.

To learn more about Interface solutions designed for the modern factory, or specifically the food and beverage industry, contact our expert application engineers.

Additional Packaging Application Note:

Candy Stamp Force Testing

Interface Helps to Move Agriculture Innovation Forward

The agriculture industry is the backbone of most economies, as food production and farming are essential to everyone’s existence around the world. Advancements and innovations in this market are core to growing a sustainable food supply as well as for safety and productivity management across the agriculture supply chain. Interface is proud to support a range of customers developing innovative sensor-based tools and equipment used in the field.

As a complete solutions provider, we provide standard and engineered to order measurement products that are designed for modern agricultural testing projects and as components for OEMs. Our Interface expert application engineers can also help in the design of customized solutions for all types of applications using our products in harsh environments, for material handling, within complex agricultural machines, and for extreme weather conditions, and engine testing. These are typical use cases that rely upon the quality, accuracy and reliability of measurement solutions from Interface.

Our customers are in a range of agriculture submarkets, from heavy machinery to food production. The common products Interface supplies to these segments include our precision load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors and miniature load cells, along with the popular tension links, load shackles, and wireless instrumentation. We also provide advanced sensor technologies and digital monitoring equipment for agricultural-based manufacturing, farm and field management, inventory monitoring, equipment testing, livestock weighing and ranching, as well as food processing and grain monitoring.

In the application use cases below, we provide a few examples of agricultural solutions that are using various Interface force measurement products.  To review a larger series of applications, visit our Interface Agriculture Solutions here.

Silo Monitoring and Weighing

For customers who need to weigh and monitor the content inside their silos, Interface can offer our A4200 Zinc Plated or A4600 Stainless Steel Weigh-check Load Cells, paired with 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller. Using these products, the customers can monitor the amount of content by weight in their silo. In this application example, the customer was provided a customizable solution to monitor and weigh their silo. Results from the 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller were sent to the customer’s control center. Read the entire application note here.

Tractor Linkage Draft Control

A large commercial farmer group wanted to measure to measure the forces applied on their tractor’s draft control, between the tractor and any linked-on attachments. Measuring the force will help the farmer be able sense any strains on the hitch of the tractor and will be needed to apply any specific settings to the draft control when the tractor encounters rough terrain. Interface supplied a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which is a wireless load pin that can be installed directly in the hitch, replacing the normal shear pin of the tractor. Force results are transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station, where the farmer can view the results on their PC computer or laptop with the supplied WTS toolkit. The customer can also view results on the WTSBS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters in real-time. Using these products, the farmer can determine the specific draft control settings for their tractor. Read more about the tractor application here.

Poultry Feeder Monitoring

A customer wanted to monitor the motor that operates their poultry feeders. The poultry feeders must give out an equal distribution of feed per poultry house. We provided a solution using the T5 Standard Precision Pedestal Mount Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer, with the speed and angle options, which will be attached between a poultry feeder and a motor with Interface’s couplings. Torsion measurements can be graphed and logged sing the 9850 Torque Transducer and Load Cell Indicator. With this solution, the customer was able to monitor their poultry feeders and ensure that every feeder got the same amount of food distributed to it.

Interface load cells, torque transducers, and data acquisition systems are ideal for a wide variety of agricultural applications. These products can be paired together to measure and ensure efficiency, sustainability, and proper production planning. Interface products can also regulate through harsh weather conditions such has humidity and unbearable temperatures while still maintaining a high testing and measurement performance. Our custom solutions application engineers will work alongside you to create the most effective and efficient solution based on your needs if standard does not fit your exact requirements. Read more here.

To check out additional application examples related to the agriculture, and other industries, please visit our website at www.interfaceforce.com/application-notes/.  Be sure to check out these great new farm applications.

LIVESTOCK WEIGHING

 

 

 

 

 

CHICKEN WEIGHING

 

 

 

 

 

 

EQUINE REIN TESTING

Load Cells for Consumer Product Applications

Typically, when engineers talk about load cells and their multitude of uses, it is assumed the applications are large-scale industrial projects like airplanes, rockets, and automobiles. However, did you know Interface load cells are regularly used for research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and end-of-line testing for countless consumer products?

Force is one of the most critical pieces of measurement in product development. This is especially true for consumer products that we interact with every day. Load cells are the tools that ensure products feel, handle and react the way they should in a consumer’s hand.

Here are a few examples showcasing how load cells touch almost everything the consumer touches.

A perfect example of a consumer product where force measurement plays a critical role in human interaction is in the abundance of numerous touch screens. Load cells are used in the R&D process to measure the accuracy, pressure, and sensitivity of the touch screen consumer interacts with on a minute-by-minute basis. The little things we don’t think about when using a tablet or smartphone, such as the smooth feeling of scrolling through social media pages, is possible because of testing using a load cell.

Another common consumer application type of load cells being used to improve product feedback and interaction is with simulation programs. High-end flight simulators often use load cells to measure the force of haptic feedback on the joysticks or chair when interacting with a flight simulator. The feeling of drag or rough winds a pilot experiences in a simulation is measured and refined for accuracy using a load cell.

Load cells are also an integral part of the manufacturing process for consumer goods. If you’ve ever seen a piece of candy with a logo stamped on it, chances are high a load cell was involved in determining the level of force to apply an exact brand stamp. Load cells are used on the stamping machine to ensure the right amount of force is used to apply the logo without crushing the candy.

In the food and drug industries, load cells are used in manufacturing facilities and on a wide variety of packaging machines. They are used for ultrasonic welding, which is the sealing process for plastic, paper or fabric shopping bags, garbage bags, and diapers. Potato chip assembly lines use load cells to weigh the bags as they fill them with chips to know when to stop and move on to the next bag. And the same stamping process used for candy in applying labels is used on pills.

Companies also incorporate load cells in end-of-line product testing. Furniture often goes through rigorous testing to ensure reliability. The furniture has various loads applied to it to confirm it can hold heavier weights over time, the furniture can also be bent and flexed to check the quality of the materials.  To reduce waste and ensure product quality, many consumer bottles use a torque transducer for end-of-line testing to test the proper cap implementation.

Batteries are another consumer product that goes through R&D and end of line testing to measure the force needed to damage the casing.  This is used to eliminate poorly designed and assembled batteries, as the acid inside can do immense harm if a child or adult is able to accidentally crush one.

Force measurement is also something that plays a role directly in the products we use. For instance, scales we use to weigh ourselves, food, and more, have load cells in them. Racecar gaming brake pedals are another example. High-end racing simulators need their brake pedal to be very accurate at measuring the amount of force applied to it to react as a real car would. Load cells are implemented in the base to provide accurate force readouts to the simulator in real-time.

Most products we all interact with every day have had some force testing or are currently using a sensor to manage its use and reliability.  Other consumer products that use Interface load cells, in all capacities and models, include treadmills, skis, bicycles, coffee makers, gaming brake pedals, boats, golf balls, desk drawers, guitars and robotic vacuums. And that is just to name a few.

Load cells and other force measurement tools like torque transducers are an integral part of developing, testing, and manufacturing reliable and accurate consumer goods. Think about this the next time you are handling your smartphone or carrying in groceries from the store. None of it would be possible without the use of force measurement equipment.

Contributor:  Kim Williams, Business Development Manager at Interface