Fortress adds upstream inline checkweigher

Designed for automated ingredient processing lines, the launch of the hygienic Raptor Inline Checkweigher gives bakery, meat, seafood and prepared food manufacturers an efficient, in-motion weighing system that connects to upstream portion control equipment.

Simple to integrate into existing production lines, including alongside sausage stuffers, meat and plant-based burger forming and portioning lines, cheese cutters, as well as bread, pizza and cake dough dividers, the Raptor Inline Checkweigher guarantees uniform portion weights at rates exceeding 9,000 units per hour.

Engineered originally for high speed bakeries, this new addition to the Fortress Raptor Checkweighing series gives European food processors the tools to switch out their manual weight checking processes and maintain weight compliance while simultaneously savings thousands of pounds in daily product giveaway.

Capable of weighing items as light as a garlic dough ball up to a 6kg cheese block, and everything in between, the new Raptor Inline Checkweigher automatically rejects product units under or over-weight by as little as 0.5 grams. Simultaneously, the machine’s advanced fibre optic controlled software communicates back to upstream portion control equipment in real time to adjust the position of cutting blades.

Given the focus on manufacturing waste, identifying and actioning under or over weight products before the energy intensive process of baking or placing into expensive packaging is more imperative than ever, highlights Fortress Europe’s applications engineer Daniel Shail. “Leaving the weight check until the end of the process is one of the most wasteful activities as it could result in an entire consignment of baked or packaged products being recalled, not to mention the many hours wasted in production and workforce salaries.”

A large number of food processors continue to check units within batches randomly by hand. Not only is this labour intensive, but it can also lead to significant variations in product quality, cautions Shail.

Automated inline checkweighing allows for individual pieces that are off target weight to be removed and reworked, as well as providing corrective feedback to the upstream portioning equipment.

Shail continues: “Weighing raw product on the conveyor line without removing it to place on a separate scale is the most efficient method. It also mitigates against potential human contaminants. For products with a number of processing variables, such as different densities, lean-to-fat ratios and even live raw bread dough, these different weight variations all need to be factored in.”

The Raptor Inline Checkweigher’s ultra-hygienic washdown design with a clean-in-place (CIP) mode, has been engineered for easy and deep sanitation to prevent cross contact contamination.

To keep the Raptor Inline Checkweigher compact, Fortress Europe engineered the reject unit to sit beneath the conveyor within the body of the machine. If the checkweigher identifies products that don’t meet the target weight specifications, the conveyor dips, dropping products into an equally hygienic and lockable BRC-approved reject bin. Enabling line operatives at regular interviews to open, remove and place the product back upstream for re-portioning.

Addressing the potential issue of airflow negatively influencing weighing accuracy or airborne contaminants landing on raw ingredients, the Raptor Inline Checkweigher also features an interlocked conveyor cover with special engineered cut outs.

Data gathered via the Raptor’s management control system can also help to track uptime and address line inefficiencies.

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