Decisions, decisions: Automated versus manual batching
Should you replace your hand scoops with feeders? Deciding whether to switch from manual to automated batching can be difficult. Typical batch sizes can range from grams to tons, and each batch can involve hundreds of ingredients. Ingredients can be delivered to your plant in bags, bulk bags, drums, rigid intermediate bulk containers, trucks, and other containers and can be transported to your batching station by hand, pneumatic conveying, or mechanical conveying. Rather than tell you that automated batching is better than manual, this article outlines a step-by-step approach to helping you decide whether automated batching is really the better choice for your plant.
Making up a batch by hand looks messy and labor-intensive -- and it is. Typically, workers scoop ingredients by hand into a container placed on a bench scale. Some material spills as it's dropped into the container. When the workers change ingredients, they fold over the tops of partially emptied bags and take them back to their storage rack.