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Non-contact scanning technology

05 April 2013

The application of the latest non-contact scanning technology to a new range of level measurement systems is said to have resulted in a breakthrough in providing an accurate and cost-effective solution for inventory measurement of dry ingredients and finished food products.

The 3D Volume Scanner System is available from level and flow specialists Allison Engineering and is designed specifically for food ingredient, bulk inventory measurement applications, where accounting for large quantities of materials has traditionally been largely guesswork.

According to Allison, the new system eliminates the problems associated with conventional ‘point level’ devices which only measure distance to a single point. Whilst this may be adequate for liquid applications it is not suitable for dry ingredients where the product is uneven. Allison’s new 3D Volume Scanner System is designed to take multiple measurements of the product profile to build a three dimensional map of the bay, silo, vessel or stockpile. Based on the volumetric measurement and also the product density, operators are able to identify both the total inventory and also the product profile.

With this information, which has until now has been unavailable, operators can reduce safety stock levels which can have an immediate and beneficial effect on cash flow.

Allison says the advantages of the system for the food and beverage industries clearly come into focus. For example, with dry ingredients and spent grain storage, the materials can have a tendency towards product build-up, leading to the incorrect assumption that the silo, or storage vessel is empty.  This can result in either product overfill or deliveries being sent away without unloading, each of which is an expensive process which can be avoided.  Also, end of week or month stock discrepancies, which can also create considerable friction between finance and operations departments, can be better understood with more accurate and realistic inventory measurement and 3D imaging.


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