Ishida Unveils Multihead Weigher Moisture Sensor System
Ishida Europe has introduced an internal moisture sensor and monitoring system for its latest multihead weighers, designed to enable food processors to more easily control and prevent water ingress into critical production equipment. Coupled with the company’s advanced Sentinel monitoring and reporting technology, this will ensure an enhanced performance and longer term reliability.
Water ingress is a common problem in frozen and non-frozen food weighing and packing environment. While models for these applications typically have appropriate IP ratings and waterproof washdown designs, these cannot prevent incidents such as doors and drive weigh units being loosely torqued, or doors being inadvertently left open, even if just for a short while.
In addition, air purge systems designed to push out moist air may be poorly maintained and lead to humid air being used. Excessive water or humidity within a multihead weigher will cause loss of machine performance and significant damage that can result in expensive downtime and repairs.
The Ishida solution is three dew and temperature sensors that are placed at key points within the weigher – under the top cover, in the turret and in the main body. These provide a constant monitoring of humidity levels within the weigher and send out a series of escalating alerts to operators if levels become too high.
There are three stages of alerts. A humidity level of between 70% and 79% triggers a yellow alert. This humidity can typically be cleared by use of the air purge system to remove the moisture from the machine.
Humidity levels between 80% and 89% – which could occur if the air purge system itself is compromised – creates a red alert that results in the weigher’s Remote Control Unit’s power being automatically switched off. It cannot then be switched back on until moisture levels have dropped below the 80% threshold.
Anything above the 90% critical level will see a bespoke input/output module come into operation. This can be configured to customer requirements such as an audible alarm or a series of beacon warning lights to indicate that critical moisture levels have been reached.
The new moisture sensors can be linked with Ishida’s recently launched Sentinel Reporting, Intervention and Service packs. These combine immediate alerts to water ingress problems with detailed historic analysis of each issue as and when it occurred. This more in-depth level of monitoring enables specific areas that may need attention to be highlighted. The ability to take immediate action for any of these issues will ensure that the weigher can maintain a longer productive life.
“Our multihead weighers are renowned for their reliability and efficiency, but the downside to this is that the machines can still continue to operate for a long time even in harsh environments where their levels of protection have been compromised,” said Ian Atkinson, the company’s Birmingham, England-based business manager for multihead weighers. “As a result, operators may be unaware of major faults until it is too late to take remedial action, leading to unwanted downtime and frustration.”
He continued: “The availability of our moisture sensors, together with the real time reporting capabilities of Sentinel, eliminates this problem so that the weighers are able deliver their highest speeds and accuracy unimpeded, and in this way maintain constant high production throughput and efficiencies.”