|Most checkweighers are able to store parameters for as many as 100 different bakery foods and function on several different lines in tandem. Photo courtesy of Loma Systems Inc.|
Bakers who do not have checkweighers are sure to give away products, and affect their bottom lines, every time these bakery foods are packaged.
Many manufacturers offer innovative equipment that ensure bakery products are an exact specified weight–before it is too late. There are two main reasons for bakers to put checkweighers in their plants. Federal law requires that bakery foods cannot weigh less than 0.1% of the declared weight on the package. A checkweigher would ensure that every product has at least its declared weight.
“If you are selling less product than what you declare on the label, that’s consumer fraud and you have to be careful of that,” one checkweigher manufacturer says.
Bakers who do not have checkweighers typically add too much product to the package to compensate for this federal law. This gives the second reason for checkweighers, to ensure that each package has no more than its declared weight.
For these two reasons, checkweighers have been gaining popularity. One manufacturer says he typically sees paybacks in the $20,000 range in less than six months for bakery foods, although this figure varies depending on the product.
In bakeries, the tradition has been to checkweigh bakery foods when they are in their final states. One checkweigher manufacturer recommends an in-process application. For bread, bakers should checkweigh raw dough after it moves out of the divider, he says. Therefore, if the dough weighs too much or too little, it can be recirculated into the mix.
Typically, checkweighers use digital or analog load cells to weigh products dynamically. Bakers enter a set of parameters–an overweight and underweight–for each bakery food into the checkweighers. Most checkweighers are able to store parameters for as many as 100 different bakery foods, in addition to function on several different lines in tandem. If a bakery food is over- or underweight, the checkweigher moves the bakery food into a reject container and back into the divider.
One checkweigher manufacturer offers a machine that is integrated with dividers on another level. If the weight of the raw dough repeatedly falls outside the specified parameters, the checkweigher sends a signal to the divider to change its specifications.
When purchasing checkweighers, bakers should consider speed, robustness and accuracy. Because American bakers run product at higher speeds, they need a checkweigher that is able to accurately weigh the product without slowing down the line. In addition, the checkweigher needs to be robust enough to handle high speeds.
Checkweighers are an important part of any bakery’s operations. Not only do they ensure that each product is at its proper weight, but they improve bottom lines as well.