Batching is the careful mixing of as many as several dozens of diverse ingredients in exact proportions. Frequently, this is a process that is handled using industrial scales where the ingredients are controlled by weight. Sometimes this is achieved by joining weight sensors to a bin, bucket, or the like and then delivering the signal to a digital indicator or similar device. This eliminates the need to manually weigh each ingredient before discharging and processing it, a time consuming and occasionally inexact procedure in which many plants still engage. Ideally, an automated batch weighing scale will integrate connections, valves, process control software, a load cell, and relay hardware into a single system which is then incorporated into a scheme designed to deliver the varied ingredients to a container in which those ingredients will be blended. The best scales for this purpose are able to measure and control temperature conditions in the container.
Industrial digital filling scales can be used for basic batching operations when many different ingredients will be used. For each individual ingredient, a separate set point value is assigned. The set point output stops after the first level is completed and the second begins, and so on. Scales with this function include floor scales, drum scales and platform scales.
Digital industrial filling scales with batching function often have memory capabilities, so these formulas can be saved and used again. Sometimes as many as a hundred formulas can be stored. These types of scales usually come standard with a RS-232 connection, but since that requires close proximity to a computer, they are more frequently being outfitted with USB (Universal Serial Bus) and Ethernet ports. A USB port allows a thumb drive to be connected to the scale. All batch, formula and weight data is downloaded onto the drive, and then the thumb drive can be delivered to any computer system and exported into spreadsheets or data tables. With an Ethernet connection, the digital filling scale is hooked up to the facility’s network. Information can be recorded remotely and, using software, the scales can be operated from a distance. Also, several electronic scales can be networked together to work in unison and share data. This technology improves quality through accuracy and consistency.
Digital indicators for industrial scales can also perform batching operations. These programmable indicators are often high resolution and easy to set up and use. A model with a numeric keypad is ideal and can be used to enter and track set points for batching, as well as tare information, unit conversion, label layouts and descriptions of parts (for parts counting). There are two different types of batch weighing modes: normal and loss in weight batching. Loss in weight batching is a method in which the container is weighed when the batch is started. Dispensing of the ingredient is stopped when the target weight is reached. Some digital indicators have high sampling speeds of up to 70 times per second. The same USB and Ethernet technology is available for digital indicators. If the digital indicator will be used in a harsher environment, consider special casing that will be shock absorbent and water proof.