Case Study: Matt Brewing checkweigher assures fill levels
January 3, 2012
At Matt Brewing Co., attention to detail and uncompromising commitment to quality are the signature trademarks of the company and their award-winning Saranac beers. To assure every customer receives a full can of beer every time, personnel searched for a gamma fill-level inspection system and instead, became the first brewer in the world to use the CM9400 Canweigh checkweigher from Mettler-Toledo (www.mt.com) Hi-Speed for 100% inspection.
“We were looking for a new fill level monitor for our canning line, but we were concerned about the reliability of many of the systems we saw,” says Jim Kuhr, director of brewery operations at Matt Brewing. “We visited Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed to look at the case weigher we had already committed to. They also showed us the CM9400 Canweigh and gave us a competitive quote. We thought the Canweigh would be more accurate and more reliable than traditional fill-level inspection systems. Compared to gamma systems, it would certainly be less of a headache from a regulatory point of view. And it had the capacity for our line.”
The patented CM9400, which is unlike any other checkweigher on the market, is suitable for many production lines that traditionally have not been good candidates for checkweighing. The CM9400 is the only checkweigher in the world that handles a flow of containers seam-to-seam without separation. Other checkweighers must separate containers to achieve isolated time on the weighpan by accelerating them prior to the weighpan and then decelerating them.
By weighing seam-to-seam, the CM9400 helps maintain the stability of containers through the checkweigher, which reduces line jams and increases uptime. Additionally, this system has fewer components than traditional checkweighers, which simplifies both maintenance and sanitation. Worker safety is improved and changeovers are faster because there are no line-time management components such as a feedscrew. The CM9400 also requires less line space than traditional checkweighers.
“The accuracy of the Hi-Speed Canweigh is very good – it is consistent down to one or two grams,” notes Rich Swanson, packaging manager at Matt Brewing. “We’re running 600 containers per minute on the canning line, but the checkweigher is capable of running 750 so we’ve got room to grow.”
The CM9400 achieves high accuracy at high speeds while weighing seam-to-seam cans, bottles or jars with a weighpan that is virtually the same length as the container being weighed. This is accomplished by supporting the containers on two chains that are positioned near the outer edges of the container instead of the middle. Traditional checkweighers with chains in the middle perceive the length of the container to be its diameter. With chains near the edges, the container is supported on shorter lengths of chain, which enables the weighpan to perceive the length of the container to be essentially one-third of its diameter. This allows the CM9400 to achieve the necessary isolated time on the weighpan without acceleration and deceleration.
By eliminating acceleration common to other checkweighers, the CM9400 maximizes time-to-weigh, which contributes to good weigh accuracy. It also improves container handling and the reject system’s ability to accurately remove out-of-tolerance packages. Furthermore, it reduces damage to containers and, for customers inspecting open containers after the filler, it reduces spillage.
Matt Brewing is using the CM9400 to inspect 12- and 16-ounce cans of Saranac and Utica Club beers as well as private label and contract brewed beers. Changing over the checkweigher to handle a different size is fast and easy because there are no container-specific time-management components such as a feedscrew to change. “The Canweigh takes less than two minutes to change, including calibration,” says Swanson. “Everything is done on the touchscreen.”
“The CM9400 is very easy to use. Everything is right there on the screen – it’s very visual,” adds Kuhr. The checkweigher features a 15-inch color display that offers at-a-glance production monitoring.
“We measure the success of the Canweigh based on the accuracy of the weigh, the reliability of the system and customer service,” concludes Kuhr. “The relationship we have with a supplier is very important, especially with a piece of equipment like a checkweigher because if it goes down, we shut the whole line down. If we have a problem, we need a fast response.”
“The CM9400 is the shining star on our production line,” says Swanson. “We need to give Don Stewart, our sales rep from Flo-Dynamics some of the credit. He is very good at solving unique production challenges and he certainly helped us find an unusual solution here with the Canweigh.”