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Checkweigher copes with humid environment and washdowns

02 October 2016

Schwarzwaldhof, a subsidiary of Edeka Südwest, depends on proven inspection technology to ensure the quality and safety of its range of meat products. 

Safety is key to this Black Forest-based company. "We do not accept any compromises, especially when it comes to the very strict hygiene provisions throughout production area," said Andreas Göhring, executive at Schwarzwaldhof. 

Approximately 270 people are employed at the plant in Blumberg, Germany, where a total of 11 packaging lines apportion and package a net annual total of more than 10,000 tons of ham and sausage products for the end consumer. Before a product leaves the Schwarzwaldhof plant, it is checked for proper weight and possible foreign contaminants by inspection systems supplied by OCS Checkweighers. "The customer has a reasonable right to expect that the amount printed on the label is actually contained in the purchased package. Equally, we must be careful not to give our product away by overfilling the package. In the end, both manufacturer and customer benefit equally from the highly accurate weight control check by the reliable checkweighers from OCS," continued Göhring. 

The packaging lines utilise OCS model HC-M-VA checkweighers which are of stainless steel construction, which makes them suitable for use in low and medium humidity environments. The weigh cells, motors, and conveyor structures are also made from stainless steel to enable easy and extensive wash downs and the units are IP65 rated. The checkweighers in use at Schwarzwaldhof – either single or a multi-track variants – perform thorough and reliable checks of each package and the system will immediately discharging any unit with an incorrect weight. 

Foreign body check
In addition to checking the weight, each package is subjected to a check for any metallic foreign bodies that may be present. Products pass through the OCS metal detector, which immediately detects any production related impurities and reliably discharges the affected units into a lockable container.

Manuel Kaupp, shift supervisor for packaging at Schwarzwaldhof knows that he can depend on the inspection systems in daily operations. Kaupp spoke about the ‘virtually trouble-free systems’ in which only the classic wear and tear parts ever need replacement. "The servicing by OCS is exceptionally good," said Kaupp. "Where other vendors seek to economise, OCS Checkweighers is particularly well staffed,” he continued. 

The metal detectors are said to deliver high detection accuracy in daily usage at the plant and have a very low false ejection rate. The weigh cells used in the checkweighers are produced by OCS parent company Wipotec. They operate on the principle of electro-magnetic force restoration (EMFR) which is said to offer fast settling times and, consequently, faster measurement results than with comparable methods of dynamic, industrial scale weighing systems.

"The scales are simple and intuitive to use, but the best thing is the transparent display of all inspection results on the monitor. In particular, being able to see the percentage of discharges resulting from metallic impurities is very important to us," concluded Kaupp.

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