Bakers find new way to prevent manufacturing irregularities

Posted by James Ferre on 28th August 2008

Manufacturers typically use checkweighing to reject over or under weight products, although it has usually been of little use in identifying irregularly formed or out of specification products before material, time and energy has been invested into it. To resolve this problem, manufacturers are now applying checkweighing’s “quantity control” capabilities early in the manufacturing process and using the data to adjust processes into acceptable limits.

For example, a large bread manufacturer had a recurring problem with undersized and irregular loaves. The production process delayed identification of these undersized loaves until after they were baked, at which point they were simply discarded. Material was wasted as well as the time and energy used in rising and baking. To rectify this, the manufacturer sought to identify irregular loaves earlier in the process and adjust the hopper feed to reduce the number of undersized dough balls.

The company found that a checkweigher could actually deal with the problem. By installing a Mettler Toledo Garvens Checkweigher into the production line and connecting the checkweigher to the hopper electronically the company was able to weigh each rounded loaf ball as it proceeded down the belt.

The checkweigher maintains a running average of those weights over a certain number of loaves and compares this average to pre-set high and low limits for loaf weight. The dough rejected is then fed back into production.

Early identification of issues is pivotal in the manufacturing to decreasing waste and increasing efficiency. For this manufacturer, immediate feedback and adjustment has reduced the number of irregular dough balls – quality has increased while costs have gone down.