Checks And Balances
By Canadian Packaging StaffAutomation A300 co-packer Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed Request Foods
As a leading co-packer of custom entrees and side dishes, Request Foods of Holland, Michigan, is always looking for new ways to improve productivity while maintaining the highest product quality.
The company is a leading co-packer of frozen prepared entrèes, side dishes and specialty items delivering better solutions to retail, club store and foodservice customers.
In need of a new checkweigher, they recently approached Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed and selected the A300, a new compact stainless steel checkweigher ideal for mild to moderate washdown environments.
Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed is North America’s largest checkweigher manufacturer. In 1981, the company joined Mettler Toledo, the world’s largest manufacturer of weighing solutions for laboratory, industrial, and food retailing applications, with more than 9,000 employees and $1.6 billion (US dollars) revenue in 2006.
“When we were shopping for a checkweigher for this latest project, we considered technology from several suppliers. Footprint was an important factor–the smaller the better. Obviously, we were looking for good accuracy and we wanted to maintain our line speeds,” says Ray Huizenga, plant operations manager at Request Foods. “The A300 is a good checkweigher at a good price. And we’ve had good experiences with Hi-Speed in the past.”
Request Foods was the first in the world to install Hi-Speed’s new A300 checkweigher. Designed for packages from 1.5 ounces to 10 pounds that are less than 7.9 inches wide, the A300 is a value-priced, two-belt checkweigher that handles up to 165 packages per minute with an accuracy of +/- 1 gram at 2 sigma. It combines the reliable, field-proven A200 frame with the new XC controller and updated electronics platform.
“The A300 is very user friendly with an interface that is easy to learn and easy to use. We like the fact that the system is password protected for various levels of access which prevents people from making adjustments that they may not be authorized to make,” notes Huizenga. “This checkweigher is also very easy to clean and easy to maintain.”
The A300 features an open design that improves accessibility for maintenance and offers open sight lines to aid visual inspection. The control enclosure is mounted between the front legs of the unit with a door that opens toward the front, which allows the checkweigher to be located close to another production line or a wall. By providing access to electronics via the front of the system, the A300 improves worker safety by eliminating the need to step over or crawl under the production line.
To further improve worker safety, Hi-Speed positioned the main power disconnect, emergency stop and conveyor start/stop on the front of the A300 unit, eliminating the need to reach over a moving conveyor to access these controls.
Request Foods relies on the A300 to weigh a wide range of single serve, ready-to-cook products packed in plastic or pressware trays with Mylar film lidding. When under-filled or over-filled packages are identified, an air blast ejector diverts the product to the reject bin. Additionally, the A300 can provide them with production data via an optional serial, Ethernet or field bus interface.
Notes Huizenga: “The A300 has certainly met our expectations–we’re happy with the weighing accuracy, the uptime and the throughput.
"Having this checkweigher on this line allows our customers to be confident that we are meeting their expectations,” said continues. “Request Foods is a family owned company of high values and character, and customer service is very important to us.
"We’re driven to exceed our customers’ demands for quality and responsiveness and the A300 checkweigher from Hi-Speed helps us achieve these goals.”
For more information on Mettler Toledo, visit: www.mt.com/hi-speed.