Weighing In The Food Industry
Why Is Weighing Important?
Accurate weighing is a crucial part of the process within food manufacturing applications. Weighing activities may span the full process from the initial weighing of raw materials as part of incoming goods inspections and will be employed throughout the process until the product is shipped from the facility.
Within food production, manufacturers will strive to ensure that every batch looks and tastes the same. This is possible thanks to the accurate weighing of the raw ingredients and by following a step-by-step production process. Inaccurate weighing can cause food products to be out-of-specification which costs time and money to rectify and can be avoided with the use of a good quality and accurate balance.
By weighing ingredients and following the precise formulation the amount of waste produced is minimised. When a recipe sets out the ingredients by weight, it means that the recipe can be easily scaled up or down depending on the batch size required. Additionally, by having a clear procedure for weighing and an easy-to-understand formulation it is possible to ensure the product is the same each and every time it is produced.
What About Trade Approved Scales?
A further important weighing consideration applies to businesses that sell food products with a price based on weight. In such circumstances legal for trade scales should be used. However, note that trade approved balances are not required to weigh individual components which are then mixed together to produce a finished product. A trade approved balance would only be required at the end of the process, if the final product is to be sold by weight.
Trade approved balances are rigorously tested to a specific standard to ensure the balance weighs accurately. The legal requirements for the testing vary slightly depending on the country or state, but guidance can be found from organisations such as The International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML), National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) and the National Measurement Institute (NMI). Trade approval gives confidence to the buyer, and seller, that all transactions will be fair and equitable and helps to uphold a trader’s reputation. It is illegal to sell food products or produce by weight without the use of a trade approved balance.
In food related industries it is imperative that equipment and surfaces can be cleaned effectively to minimise the potential for possible cross-contamination, residue build up and bacterial growth. A balance with a good IP rating (ingress protection) will ensure that it is resistant to particles and liquids.
Importance Of Food Safety
In facilities which produce food products it is common to see personnel wearing blue gloves. This is not a stylistic choice, rather it is a practical one, since blue is generally considered as a contrasting colour compared with the product which is being manufactured. Often gloves are worn to protect personnel and to prevent product contact, but if the glove splits and accidentally falls into the product then the blue colour should make it easy to identify the contamination. Similarly, in such facilities the first aid kits contain blue coloured wound dressings which may also contain metallic strip. This is to ensure that if the dressing was to loosen and fall into the product then they can be easily detected by eye, sensor or metal detector.
The Precisa Series 520 Balances
The Precisa Series 520 features blue levelling feet for increased visibility in the aforementioned applications. The feet are turned by hand to increase or decrease the height of the balance to adjust the instrument until level. However, there is the possibility that the feet of the balance could be turned to excess and could become loose and fall into a batch of product. Such a risk is small as the feet would need to be turned by a significant amount before this could happen. In the event that the feet mistakenly contaminated a batch they would be easily visible, making the 520 Series the ideal partner for the food industry.
The OIML certification of the Series 520 balances allows users to have the balances officially verified as required by governmental bodies and industry regulations. This is necessary if the balance is being used in a legal for trade application, for example, where financial transactions are dependent on the weight of the goods being traded.
Additionally, the Precisa 520 Series of analytical and precision balances can be IP65 rated on demand. Often, the introduction of IP protection features can have an influence on the performance of a balance, but this is not the case for Precisa. Thanks to state-of-the-art development and design work, these influences have been avoided and the high precision and accuracy of the 520 balance is guaranteed with addition of IP65 protection.