Production lines are used in hundreds of different industries. Whether in car assembly, husking, textile, steel, beverage packaging, or baked goods plants, production lines provide the efficiency and speed that make it necessary to keep up with the competition. In many industries, such as the food processing, chemical and paint mixing, pharmaceutical and cosmetics, plastics injection molding, and semiconductor industries, industrial weighing platforms are a very useful aspect of the production line.
Very often, one aspect of a production line may be mixing of different ingredients. In the paint industry, different colors of paint may need to be mixed in very precise measurements in order to come up with the perfect color. In addition, hardeners and reducers need to be added in the exact proportion. In the chemicals industry, drums of mixtures of chemicals and other industrial fluids must be filled to meet exact specifications. By far, the easiest and most precise method for mixing these ingredients is the use of electronic platform scales. Mixing containers are placed on a precision digital platform scale which measures the amount of fluid being fed into the container. In specific, industrial drum scales are very useful for these types of measurements. These scales are large enough to accommodate a drum. A typical size for these platform scales is 20’x27’, but larger platforms are also available to accommodate larger drums. In addition, it is important for drum scales to have a very low profile in order to make it easier to load and unload drums and therefore speed up the production process. Certain high-quality electronic drum scales, like the Arlyn line of scales, are only less than 1.5’ high, allowing for easy and safe loading of heavy drums. Electronic platform scales would not be important in production lines if they could not help automate the process. Various methods of communication must be used between the scale and various feeders to indicate when to start and stop feeding ingredients into the mixing container. A set point controller integrated into the digital scale communicates with solid state relays to open and close various feeding valves. For example, in the preparation of food grade syrups, the platform scale opens one valve to feed water in a drum. Once a certain weight is met, the digital scale sends a signal to close that valve and open another valve to feed sugar into the drum. This process continues until the product is finished, and the drum moves to the next point in the production process. Electronic platform scales are also extremely useful in the checkweighing phase of the production process. In many production lines, items may be packaged into boxed kits that may include various parts and instruction manuals. Rather than having inspectors at the end of the line open and inspect each kit to ensure that every item has been included, these boxes can be placed on digital platform scales to compare their weight versus a statistical range of acceptable weights. If the kit does match this range of weights, then an indicator light turns on. It may be important, when checkweighing, to keep very precise records of the weight of each kit. The operator can simply write down the weights with pens and paper. However, this creates the possibility for human error. Many industrial platform scales include an RS-232 communication port to allow for connectivity with computers. Newer technology in this field includes USB and even Ethernet connectivity. Each time an item is placed on the digital platform scale, the scale can send the weight data to a computer database. Even more advanced systems would allow the operator to include the kit number and other information with this data to create the most perfect production records. Due to the extensive lists of industries that utilize production lines in processing, it is often necessary to develop custom weighing solutions for some production lines. Arlyn Scales and other scale companies have chosen to specialize in and are extremely knowledgeable in the field of custom weighing solutions. These companies design their own load cells, digital indicators, and platforms to meet the demands of the production line. In addition, they are skilled at creating their own computer programs for controlling and keeping records of the assembly process. Customized weighing systems developed and manufactured by Arlyn Scales include systems for inventory control, livestock weighing and sorting, liquefied gas tank monitoring, and automatic liquid dispensing.