So, you are putting in a new packaging line?

Written by Amanda King, Marketing Manager

If you are putting in a new packaging line, here are five simple – but important – things to consider for your multihead weigher.

Yamato understands that adding or replacing a packaging line in a food-processing facility is a significant investment that requires thorough consideration, planning, and budgeting. While a combination scale is only one piece to the packaging puzzle, Yamato Corporation’s team of weighing experts has compiled a list of five things for you to consider so your scale – and the rest of your packaging line – will run in tip-top shape.

Yamato Corporation recommends you:

1. Evaluate and confirm the placement of the packaging equipment.

Environment-related factors like wind, temperature, or vibrations can directly impact the speed and accuracy of a multihead weigher. Sometimes these factors are so subtle that they go unnoticed until after a line is installed. Solutions do exist to combat these factors by making modifications to the scale, but the facility’s environment should really be taken into consideration at the beginning of a project. This will prevent any install delays and other inefficiencies or downtime once the equipment is set up.

These facility-specific factors do not just impact the scale, they can also impact the product being processed, too. For example, if the temperature in a facility packaging frozen food fluctuates – even just a few degrees – condensation could create buildup. Any kind of buildup can have a drastic impact on the accuracy of the scale.

Yamato scales can auto zero buckets if the environment – or the product itself – creates build-up.

2. Consider and communicate all product variations.

A multihead weigher is a highly customized piece of machinery that is designed and built specifically for the product(s) it will be weighing. The target weight as well as the product’s piece size and bulk density impact the scale’s design. That is why it is so important for you to provide thorough product information to your scale provider or equipment integrator. The best way to do that is by providing samples. At Yamato, we are happy to test run your products to ensure the right scale is quoted for you.

If there are inconsistencies in your product, it is important to share that during the planning and quoting process. For example, if you are packaging salad and the size of your lettuce leaf may change based on the variety or the season, it is important to share that information so the scale can be built to run the full range of leaves it will need to weigh. This information may also impact the ancillary equipment, so it is best to be as thorough as possible and consider all product variation possibilities.

When using a Yamato scale specifically, we advise creating unique programs for all target weights and/or products. This can reduce startup time by up to 10% and helps minimize product giveaways.

3. Pre-plan for equipment to properly feed your scale.

In most cases, Yamato recommends a vibratory cross-feeder to ensure the product falls consistently onto the top cone of the scale. Regardless of the in-feed machinery type though, it is important for there to be enough product on top of the scale while it is running. This ensures that the scale’s linear feed pans and feed buckets can continuously drop the product into the scale’s weigh buckets.

Consider this, a 14-head combination scale has 16,384 combinations to pick. If just one bucket becomes unavailable because it is not being fed properly – or starved – the number of available combinations drops in half.

At Yamato, we typically find that an ideal number of buckets to use per discharge to achieve precise accuracy at the pre-programmed target weight is four. When the number of available buckets is reduced, the scale’s accuracy is reduced, too. This is because fewer buckets mean fewer available combinations. Fewer buckets will also impact the scale’s speed. This then has a domino effect and creates a negative impact on the entire packaging line.

4. Avoid using aftermarket parts.

It is important to be budget-conscious, but it is not worth saving a few bucks buying aftermarket parts for your scale. With aftermarket parts, you jeopardize the scale’s operating efficiency. While this may not seem like a huge issue, over time, the use of aftermarket parts can create bigger problems that may result in the need to buy even more parts or replace the entire scale itself.

If you are going to make the initial investment in top-of-the-line machinery and choose a weigher like a high-quality Yamato combination scale, then we recommend you only use Yamato Genuine Parts. At Yamato Corporation, we keep an extensive inventory of parts to ensure we can get you what you need as soon as you need it.

5. Get trained.

Sometimes, user error can prevent a packaging line from reaching peak performance. We recommend you invest in professional training for your workforce to ensure your equipment – especially your scale – is used correctly.

With employee turnover happening at rapid rates today, Yamato Corporation can conduct whatever kind of training would work best for your organization. We offer onsite training at our Wisconsin and California facilities. Training can be set up as a group session or you may want to consider the “train-the-trainer” approach. Yamato Corporation’s team can also come to your location to provide regular training sessions if desired. We would be happy to discuss creating a customized training program for you. Yamato factory-trained service technicians conduct these classes. These technicians only work on Yamato scales.

Following these five tips can help optimize your multihead weigher and minimize unwanted downtime of your packaging line. If a scale-related issue does arise and your weighing equipment needs service, you can rely on Yamato Corporation’s team of regionally based technicians to get your machine up and running again as quickly as possible.

As Yamato – not a distributor or agent – we are the weighing experts. We understand you require nonstop performance from our scales, and from us. That’s what we call the Yamato Difference.

If you would like to speak with a Yamato service or sales representative to discuss your specific weighing needs, please contact us.