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New SICK LMS511 Bulkscan improves volume measurement of vegetables on a conveyor

10 June 2014

Measuring the volume and mass throughput of bulk vegetables on a conveyor belt has been made quicker and more accurate with the introduction of SICK’s LMS511 Bulkscan laser scanner.

Operating inside or outside under any weather or industrial conditions,  the LMS Bulkscan determines the volume and mass throughput of grain, potato and other root crops, vegetable and fruit.  It provides agricultural and food manufacturers with a real-time measurement system for processing, storage and transportation that is almost maintenance free.

“Fixed above the conveyor, the SICK LMS511 Bulkscan tracks a highly-accurate and continuous non-contact profile of the materials on a conveyor belt, with a data update in less than 15 millisecond increments,” explains Darren Pratt of SICK UK’s Industrial Instrumentation Division. “It will operate reliably in the presence of dust, rain or snow and in ambient temperatures ranging from -30 degrees C and +50 degrees C.”

“The LMS Bulkscan can provide a low-maintenance alternative to mechanical belt weighers as it is wear free and does not require regular calibration.  Further cost savings can be achieved as the unit identifies off-centre or excessive loading of material on the belt which could cause premature wear and line breakdown.” 

The system uses SICK’s proven LMS infra-red laser scanning technology. The Bulkscan compares the material profile with the reference scan of the empty conveyor and the resulting cross-sectional area of the material is computed.

Using the measured speed of the belt and the material density value, the volume, mass and throughput of the materials can be quickly calculated. A highly-accurate realtime mass flow or volume measurement provides commercial advantages for example, for revenue assessment, shipping weights or safe loading. 

The use of a Class 1 laser means it is entirely safe for operatives without requiring safety enclosures.  The SICK LMS511 Bulkscan is contained in a compact (155x155x159mm) IP67, weather proof,  vibration-resistant housing, with an in-built heater which switches on automatically when the temperature drops below 5 degrees C.

The LMS511 Bulkscan is easy to install and set up in vertical alignment for highly accurate bulk flow measurement, using the pulsed, time-of-flight laser measurement system with a 190 degree wide field of view. Commissioning is quick and easy using the free of charge SOPAS software which is used to configure many of SICK’s latest products. A selection of interfaces are available for easy integration into the system architecture found on plant, including 6 configurable digital outputs, 2 digital inputs, analogue inputs/outputs and Ethernet interfaces.

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