Food Safety Magazine

Signature Series | June 11, 2018

How to Increase Food Safety Using High-Performance Weighing

By Kevin Hill

How to Increase Food Safety Using High-Performance Weighing

In every food manufacturing and processing industry, accurate weighing proves to be an important step to maintain the integrity and quality of food products. Different processes and equipment in food processing and storage industries are exposed to extreme temperatures and physical factors. This makes it necessary to maintain good weighing practices to ensure the longevity of the weighing scales and get accurate measurements. In this article, we will look at three good weighing practices and different types of scales you can employ in a food processing plant.

3 Good Weighing Practices

Regular Calibration
It is important to produce accurate measurements, however, even the best weighing scales can lean towards inaccuracies if they are not calibrated frequently. Check for measurement uncertainty in each scale and correct the error. It is critical to factor the disparity between a food’s weight under normal and frozen conditions and calibrate the scales to eliminate the difference. The weight of the food may also vary at the beginning and end of the processing line, i.e., when the food is frozen through various stages. Determine the frequency of calibration to keep the scales optimum so that they produce accurate results.

Maintaining Cleanliness
There is a high probability of frozen liquid being accumulated on the scales in sub-zero conditions or frozen food getting stuck on them. This affects the accuracy of the reading. It is important to maintain cleanliness and hygiene for accuracy and safety reasons. You must clean the surfaces without affecting or damaging the scales. Employ appropriate cleaning techniques and use the right materials to keep the scales clean.

Considering Temperature and Environmental Factors
Processing, packaging and storing different food products require different temperatures. It is important to understand how these temperatures affect the weighing scales. Take precautionary steps to protect the weighing system from various environmental damages like rust, pitting or cracks. 

4 Types of Weighing Scales

Bench and Floor Scales
These are used mainly for shipping, receiving or sorting inventory. Bench and floor scales weigh goods with extremely high accuracy and reduce the likelihood of revenue loss. These are available in stainless steel for food processing environments where sanitary and hygienic conditions are strict and rugged. They also come in mild steel for warehousing or goods in/out applications where you can set palletized loads on to a floor scale using a forklift.

Vehicle Scales
In order to manage inventory and billing properly in the food processing environment, you need to document and weigh the inbound as well as the outbound freight. Due to the high cost of fuel, it is essential that the bulk carriers balance the need for optimal loading while keeping the operations safe. Weighbridges, truck scales and axle weighing systems help in ensuring that both incoming and outgoing loads are weighed quickly and accurately.

Conveyor Scales
Conveyor belt scales improve the processing speed by reducing lifting and increasing throughput, thus proving beneficial in processes where accuracy and speed impact the profitability. The scales operate while the conveyor is in motion and can weigh individual cartons, boxes and unpackaged products like different cuts of meat. They are simple to install and can be easily integrated with label printers, computers and scanners.

Checkweighers
In any food production line, accurate yet fast checkweighing can make a huge difference to the company’s profits. Overweight packages will cut into production costs and lead to costly giveaways and overweight shipments, while underweight packages will guarantee unhappy and dissatisfied customers. They have simple operator interface and an easy-to-read display. Apart from accurate readings, they provide visibility of weighing data and statistics that help in maximizing performance and profitability.

Install the right weighing system and implement the best weighing practices based on your processes to achieve high productivity and efficiency.

Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA.

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