Automated batching for improved product quality and processing efficiency — Part I
This two-part article explains how an automated batching system can overcome the inaccuracy, limited output, and other problems associated with manual batching operations. Part I explains how automated gain-in-weight and loss-in-weight batching systems work, how they are applied, and what to consider when selecting a system for your application. Part II (October 2007) concludes the article with information on selecting conveyors for an automated batching system, integrating the system with your plant equipment and controls, and promoting flow of difficult materials in the system; two automated batching system case histories are also included.
Manual batching is a time-consuming operation in which an operator adds premeasured ingredients or individually weighs ingredients before adding them to a blender or other process vessel. This operation can slow the entire process, generate considerable dust, and result in lost product through spillage and incompletely emptied bags. However, the biggest problem with manual batching is that it can be an inaccurate and inconsistent method of weighing batch ingredients, thereby affecting product quality and consistency. For many plants, whether large or small, switching to an automated batching system (also called a weighbatching system) is a cost-effective way to solve these problems.