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Report: Innovative New Inspection Machinery at PACK EXPO Las Vegas

PMMI Media Group editors fanned out across the many booths at PACK EXPO Las Vegas to bring you this Innovations Report. Here’s what they saw in the inspection category.

Image #1 in the article text.
Image #1 in the article text.

Flexibility in operation is a machine characteristic we heard about frequently in the aisles of PACK EXPO, and WIPOTEC OCS was one of the exhibitors that had a lot to show in this important area. It introduced a new model of its Modular Multilane System (MMS2) intelligent weighing systems for machine manufacturers that is IP65 rated and is even more flexible than its predecessor.

The existing MMS system has been used in multi-lane applications. The new MMS2 is more compact, approximately 50% smaller, and has an IP65 protection class, which means there is no need for an additional control cabinet. It is also more flexible. The existing MMS is equipped with 3, 6, 10, or 14 slots in the base plate. The new MMS2 is a modular design in which individual modules can be plugged in together side by side to the exact number needed in a space-saving manner.

The basic module includes all of the common fieldbus interfaces, an Ethernet interface, and the power supply. It has an option of Active Vibration Compensation (AVC) for environments where high interferences can influence the weighing result. “The weigh cells with AVC technology are designed to eliminate all of the problems with vibration,” says Jack Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing for WIPOTEC OCS. “An issue we found in the market was that the electronics for each weigh cell are large and IP54. So we took all of our electronics and made it smaller and IP65.”


   

Watch a video of the MMS2.


Checkweiging was also a feature at the booth of Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, The firm launched C-Series checkweighing systems (1) at the Las Vegas show that provide new standards for speed and precision with new load cell technology that allows users to achieve increased throughputs.

FlashCell™ load cells weigh food products at speeds of up to 800 ppm, with precision better than required by Measuring Instrument Directive (MID). With three different load cell types in the FlashCell portfolio, food manufacturers can select the appropriate load cell for their products, weighing a complete product range up to 10 kg reliably and precisely. The checkweighers can process products more quickly and reduce product give-away through greater weighing precision. Image #1 in the article text.Image #1 in the article text.

“Flash cell technology allows us to run a faster rate of products per minute, in addition to getting better accuracies,” says Brad Wood, Regional Sales Manager with Mettler-Toledo. “In addition, we can actually shorten the scale and provide the same relative accuracy as the system and provide a smaller footprint within the plant.”

Mettler-Toledo carried out tests comparing FlashCell to current EMFR (electro-magnetic force restoration) load cells, and the firm has also installed its new load cell technology at customer sites. Through these tests and installations, FlashCell load cell checkweighers have demonstrated, for example, the ability to achieve throughputs up to 800 ppm and a 40% improved standard deviation for a 35-g cereal bar.

FlashCell technology delivers weighing results with a standard deviation up to four times lower than the previous load cell generation. The technology also works with shorter measuring times at high speeds. The weighing conveyor can therefore be reduced in length, with slower conveyor speeds helping to increase product handling stability and allowing shorter outfeed conveyors and product collection areas. The complete length of the checkweigher itself can be reduced by up to 24%.

Image #2 in the article text.Image #2 in the article text.With three different load cell types in the FlashCell portfolio, food manufacturers can select the appropriate load cell for their products, weighing a complete product range up to 10 kg reliably and precisely. The checkweighers can process products more quickly and reduce product give-away through greater weighing precision.

“Flash cell technology allows us to run a faster rate of products per minute, in addition to getting better accuracies,” says Wood. “In addition, we can actually shorten the scale and provide the same relative accuracy as the system and provide a smaller footprint within the plant.”

Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection also took advantage of PACK EXPO Las Vegas to launch a next-generation series of metal detection systems (2) that deliver a fresh dimension to the food inspection market. The modular design of the fully integrated system can be adapted over time, in line with evolving compliance and productivity needs.

A new digital platform, powered by new smart SENSE™ software, is combined with advanced algorithms to allow entry-level models to deliver high sensitivity to all metal contaminant types with minimal false rejects. Dynamic Stability Control innovations stabilize the core sensor of the metal detector to help protect against environmental noise and vibration interference for increased reliability. A full-color touchscreen makes operation simple, with key tasks accessible using the quick-access menu.

According to Alan Zeng, Mettler-Toledo Business Development Manager for the OEM business, the M30-R series metal detector has a 100% digital window-based platform and is very easy to use. During a live demo at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Zeng showed how products are passed through the detector. “The machine will learn what frequency it will be operating,” explained Zeng, “and will optimize set up.”


   

Watch a video of the M30-R and the FlashCell technology.


One last look at innovations in inspection technology bring us to the booth of Domino Printing Sciences, which launched the new R-Series range of smart vision systems (3) for automatic inspection and validation of product codes, including date codes, batch numbers, bar codes, and 2D-printed codes.

The R-Series was developed in consultation with customers following Domino’s acquisition of Lake Image Systems. It’s not that manufacturers had no way of validating codes in the past, but the validation technology had to come from a source other than Domino. With the launch of the R-Series, Domino seeks to deliver customer value by reducing complexity and offering a complete end-to-end solution from a single trusted partner.Image #3 in the article text.Image #3 in the article text.

Specifically designed to work with Domino printers and coders, the R-Series eliminates the need for manual code validation and inspection or the complexity of buying an automated validation system from some other OEM. This significantly reduces the risk of an incorrect code leaving a manufacturing site unnoticed, while allowing for more efficient use and distribution of resources.

The launch highlights Domino’s ongoing commitment to “do more” to help customers improve production efficiency and reduce manufacturing waste by delivering best-in-class customer experience through products, services, and expertise.

R-Series systems have been developed to work alongside Domino printers, integrating seamlessly into existing production lines without the need for custom brackets or specialist add-ons. R-Series controllers can be run from a single human-machine interface and have a standard user interface with Domino ‘look and feel,’ which is easy to learn and reduces the need for additional training.

Unlike other vision systems, the R-Series is specifically designed for coding and marking applications. The systems are optimized for Domino fonts, print characteristics, and inks, and they match the speed of Domino’s fastest printers, meaning that manufacturers can code with confidence, knowing that every code that is printed can be checked and verified.

The R-Series is available as three separate products, with custom options available to cater to all requirements and budgets. The top-level R550 is a complete code validation and verification solution, which validates the data for both human- and machine-readable codes, as well as checking for readability and code placement. The mid-range R350 checks the readability of machine-readable codes, while the R150, a cost-efficient introductory option, offers simplified checking for code presence and placement.

With the launch of the R-Series, Domino says it can satisfy on a global basis customers’ coding and vision needs via a single reputable brand while taking full responsibility for installation, training, and after-sales support.


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