Total system approach: Solving a multi-ingredient weighbatching problem — Part I
In today's markets, you need to respond quickly to customer needs. In a batching operation, this can mean modifying key dry ingredients in your blended formulas on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. An equipment vendor may suggest installing a few new machines to handle your new requirements, but often the best solution is to consider every piece of equipment and component in your existing system before replacing or adding anything. This kind of total system approach can help you ensure that all the equipment works together to provide the process performance and efficiency you need. This two-part article uses the example of a fictional snack food producer's search for a multi-ingredient weighbatching solution to explain how you can take a comprehensive system approach to solving complex handling problems. Details are based on the author's experience designing weighbatching and other systems for dry bulk materials producers in several industries.
Part I of this article includes information on searching for a system solution, establishing system parameters, and developing and examining the system design. The redesigned system's weighbatching subsystems are described and illustrated in detail. Part II, to appear in the October 1999 issue, describes and illustrates the redesigned system's remaining subsystems and concludes with information on preparing for system installation, installing and starting up the system, and providing support after startup.