What Affects Checkweigher Accuracy on a Production Line?

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weighing food in a store

For a food processing company, quality assurance checks on the weight of the products are a must. Whether you need to assure customers they are receiving a certain amount of food in a package or you must precisely measure medication dosages during manufacturing, a checkweigher machine is a key component.

You may believe you have your checkweigher precisely calibrated, yet its accuracy is not quite where it must be. So, what affects checkweigher accuracy on a production line?

Multiple factors could leave your checkweigher struggling to deliver the precise weight, such as environmental factors, lack of maintenance, and improper conveyor belt speed.

It’s easy to see the benefits of using checkweighers along your food production and processing line. However, if the machine is not providing the measurement precision you need, it’s not helping you. Learn more about how to eliminate factors that could affect the accuracy of your checkweigher machines.

Environmental Factors Impacting Checkweigher Accuracy

Environmental factors impacting checkweigher performance can include:

  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Humidity level fluctuations
  • Vibrations along the conveyor line

Such environmental conditions may generate interference for the machine. This interference could affect the electrical signal that the machine uses, resulting in problems with accurate weight readings.

For example, extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations may cause the voltage to drop inside the machine from increased wire resistance. This could cause the load cell output to differ from the number on the display.

Minimizing vibration for accurate checkweighing is important, too. The machine could measure the weight of the vibration along with the weight of the product, causing an error.

At TDI Packsys, we offer machines that stand up to significant environmental factors. For example, our IXL Standard Checkweighers can operate accurately in temperatures ranging from 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and in humidity conditions ranging from 30% to 85%.

How Equipment Calibration Affects Checkweigher Accuracy

When wondering what affects checkweigher accuracy, regular machine calibration is especially important. Checkweigher calibration and accuracy in measurements go hand in hand.

Without performing calibration on time and using proper methods, your checkweigher will steadily experience a reduction in its ability to make accurate measurements. Such problems lead to dissatisfied customers, reduced product quality, and the possibility of needing to recall products.

Setting up regular calibration schedules is important to ensure that you catch any buildup over time of environmental factors that could affect the machine.

At TDI Packsys, we offer certification and calibration services for our customers, including on-site services from trained technicians. Our techs use a detailed checklist during our calibration process, including running diagnostics and performing physical inspections.

Relationship Between Conveyor Speed and Checkweigher Accuracy

conveyor belt in a bakery

What affects checkweigher accuracy in a sometimes inconsistent manner is the speed of the conveyor. When you are noticing checkweigher accuracy issues that seem intermittent, it’s possible varying conveyor speeds could cause them.

A checkweigher that is measuring items as they move along a conveyor belt must be able to generate accurate readings in a fraction of a second. With such a short amount of time to generate a reading, error possibilities increase. Items you might not consider problematic, such as dust or vibrations, can throw off the weight measurement on a fast-moving conveyor.

With products running on a faster conveyor, the checkweigher has less time to measure a slower conveyor. This reduced time to take measurements could introduce more errors.

The best way to solve conveyor speed issues is to match the machine you select with the maximum speed at which your conveyor moves, even if you don’t need that speed all the time. Some machines even have extra features that help them run accurately on higher-speed conveyor lines.

How Product Characteristics Influence Checkweigher Accuracy

If you are weighing products that may not have a consistent shape and size, this could affect the measurement accuracy of the checkweigher. If the product’s configuration leaves it unstable on the conveyor line, it could generate a vibration or a shift as it moves through the checkweigher, causing a weight measurement error.

Product characteristics affecting checkweighing precision can include:

  • Product density variations
  • Shape of products
  • Size of products
  • Stability of product shape
  • Unusual packaging shapes and sizes
  • Surface texture of products and packaging

You need to make sure the machine you select can handle the characteristics of the products you run across the conveyor. Some machines work better with a product consistency that may shift while moving, such as a packaged liquid. Others have features that allow for tall bottles that may not be completely stable as they move.

Additionally, pay attention to the conveyor belt dimensions to ensure that the machine you pick can accommodate your production system. TDI Packsys has multiple machines that can match your requirements for weighing non-standard products.

Operational Errors That Affect Checkweigher Accuracy

Sometimes, learning what affects checkweigher accuracy is as simple as operator error. You need to have day-to-day operators who understand the machines and can set them up to ensure accurate weights.

Trained employees running the machines will be able to perform the proper load cell selection for optimal checkweigher accuracy. They can operate the software properly to set up the machine for each run.

Employees need to know when to make manual adjustments because of the product on the conveyor and when to make overrides. If they make errors in issuing overrides, they will allow products with improper weights to pass through the system and reach consumers.

At TDI Packsys, we offer on-site installation, system setup, and thorough training for employees with every purchase of our checkweigher products.

Regular Maintenance Improves Checkweigher Accuracy

preventive maintenance of conveyor

As with almost any machine, you receive a higher level of performance and accuracy with regular maintenance on the checkweigher. Have a schedule and checklist for checkweigher maintenance for consistent results in weights and measurements.

Some of the steps you can take during maintenance include:

  • Check the unit for loose fasteners and screws that could affect the stability of the machine.
  • Lubricate any moving parts.
  • Inspect the load cells for any foreign matter or physical damage.
  • Clean the machine thoroughly.
  • Inspect the timing belts for any wear or damage that could affect performance.
  • Inspect wiring for any damage or loose connections.
  • Reset all chips used within the machine.
  • Use known test weights to ensure the accuracy of measurements.

You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific maintenance tasks required for your model of checkweigher. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for frequency of maintenance, too.

If you have concerns over maintenance tasks, ask our customer service team to make some recommendations for machines that are easier to maintain. Frequently, simpler machines that are easier to use will also have fewer requirements for maintenance.

We Help You Maintain Checkweigher Accuracy

TDI Packsys is a market-leading provider of inspection solutions for manufacturers and processors. Our products help you sort and scan items as they move along the manufacturing line, ensuring product quality.

We fully understand the importance of weighing products in food manufacturing. With our solutions in place, you’ll find cost savings and greater consistency in products, all while maintaining safety for the consumer and avoiding recalls.

Learning what affects checkweigher accuracy becomes easier when our experts are helping you with your systems. Contact TDI Packsys today at 877-834-6750 to learn more about our product solutions.

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