At PACK EXPO Connects, Fortress Technology unveiled its expansion into checkweighing with the launch of its inaugural Raptor “smart” weigher series. According to Fortress, Raptor checkweighers have been designed for new-generation manufacturers embracing the digital revolution and include an intelligent conveyor removal system and intuitive digital process monitoring technology to advance inspection efficiency, target operational inefficiencies, and reduce product giveaway.
The Raptor range comprises three systems: a single-frame standalone checkweigher, a combination metal detector and checkweigher, and the XL case-weighing system for ingredient and big bag applications. According to Fortress, all three address North America’s calls for robust, accurate, hygienic, and compact food-weight control systems incorporating the very latest digital smart processing technology. Innovative common features across the range include no-tool maintenance, leading digital software processing, and a totally unique conveyor motor release.
Says Fortress President Steve Gidman, “This is a breakthrough advancement for the North American food inspection market that applies unseen technology to improve process efficiency. Raptor is a premium weight control solution that can be integrated with or without a metal detector, at the best price point. All delivered in a flexible, hygienic package.”
Among its features, the Raptor introduces high-end weight control technology to guarantee absolute traceability. According to Fortress, by instantaneously capturing sample readings of individual packs by the millisecond, the Raptor control system provides highly accurate and consistent weighing results. “Only possible by using the most advanced ARM processors, this data capture and analytics is a game changer for food factories concerned about product waste and giveaway,” explains Raptor Sales Engineer Matthew Gidman. “Using Raptor’s digital data capture feature, manufacturers can pinpoint upstream operational deficiencies, including overfilling of packs, processing, and packaging waste.”
Fortress notes that the Raptor also offers another hygienic first: It introduces a new tight-fitting conveyor concept with a quick release and disassembly of the deck, belt, motor, and rollers. Overcoming the longstanding industry challenge of loosening belt tension during machine sanitation, operators simply unclip and disconnect the conveyor motor and lift out the entire conveyor assembly. In just seconds, the conveyor belt is removed, along with its individual components, such as rollers and bearings, for maintenance and cleaning. The belt tension and alignment are instantly restored when clipped back into place.
“The Raptor conveyor is super-fast to disassemble, reassemble, and slot back into place. No tools are needed, which means there are no hidden contaminants or loose screws to worry about. Additionally, the tight-fitting, smooth-surface conveyor eliminates belt noise, which can affect a checkweighers’ accuracy,” explains Matthew Gidman.
Another features of the Raptor is its new 19-in. smart touchscreen. The screen is bigger than most digital tablets, so machine operators can customize and bring to the foreground the most relevant parameters to their operation. Ranging from net weight, to average weight to product giveaway, operators simply pick their preference for the home screen. Graphs and visual prompts help to flag and respond to critical trends.
For failsafe, auditable test routines, Quality Assurance managers can program reminders and test schedules into the HMI. Applying smart technology, visual alerts remind operators when a test is due. The test process, which includes preprogrammed test parameters, is clearly explained, giving no room for human error.
Specifically designed for high-care confectionery, chocolate, bakery, nutritional bars, and packaged meats and cheeses, the Raptor Combination system measures 1.7 m, which Fortress says is virtually half the length of a comparable combination system on the market. However, it adds, despite the compact size, the metal detector has a full-sized inspection head to ensure sensitivity is not compromised.
Using compatible collective parts, Raptor’s universal design also gives manufacturers the option to purchase a standalone Raptor checkweigher. Built to a standard 30- to 32-in. height, the Raptor checkweigher can be easily adapted to weigh different products, pack sizes, and formats, ranging from flexible to rigid packs, and can be moved to other production lines when needed.
All the same principles have been applied to the Raptor XL. Designed to suit any case or large bag application weighing up to approximately 50 kg, the reject station can be customized to remove non-conforming products from the line.
To view demos from Fortress Technology (available through March 31, 2021) and to add the company to your MyConnects Planner, click here.