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Smart Weighing: How advanced features of weighing and inspection solutions pay off for customers

Dynamic checkweighers, digital load cells or software are no longer just a means to an end: modern solutions score with intelligent functions that not only facilitate use, but also save time and money. Minebea Intec, a leading supplier of weighing and inspection solutions, offers a wide range of smart features that pay off for the customer.

In addition to quality assurance, modern weighing or inspection solutions and supporting software are also suitable for increasing the efficiency of production. The adjustment screws that production operators can turn are as versatile as the products they manufacture. Minebea Intec's portfolio offers a wide range of options for increasing output and product quality.

Checkweighers: How trend control eliminates overfills and underfills

For most checkweigher models Minebea Intec offers the option of a trend control. With this option, unnecessary overfilling or underfilling can be avoided, thus saving material costs.

Trend Control focuses on all customers in almost all industries who use filling, portioning or cutting machines. A prerequisite for the use of a trend controller is that these machines can be controlled externally, i.e. that they have suitable inputs for control signals. The checkweigher option trend control, contains software as well as physical outputs and has the task of controlling the machine upstream of a checkweigher via appropriate control signals in such a way that the weight value defined as the target weight is reached as accurately as possible and is kept constant. For this purpose, the weighing results are evaluated accordingly. The result of the evaluation is a control signal (manipulated variable) that is used to adjust the filling, portioning or cutting machine.

But not only the throughput of the production plays an important role here, the higher the raw material value, the faster investments in high-quality checkweighers equipped with trend control option pay back. A decisive prerequisite for the successful use of this feature is that the measuring instrument (checkweigher in this case) delivers highly accurate actual values (weight values), shows as little (temperature) drift as possible and is zero-point stable. But not only dynamic weighing offers possibilities for process optimisation: In tank and silo weighing, Minebea Intec offers an option to supplement analogue load cells to a digital solution with the Converter Connex.

From analogue to digital: Discover new possibilities with Connexx

Load cells provide precise and reliable solutions for weighing tanks or silos. Technologies such as SmartCalibration have long ensured PC-based calibration completely without weights. Minebea Intec goes one step further with the Connexx digital converter and offers the possibility to transform analogue load cells into a smart system as well. The digital upgrade works without having to make any mechanical adjustments to the silo or tank.

Connexx opens up new possibilities that already start with the installation: With the converter, the user saves time and money, as no cable connection box is required compared to analog load cells.

During operation, the fast signal runtimes ensure reliable and precise batching processes as well as optimum transparency. Since weight values are also available individually - per load cell - defective load cells can be easily identified and replaced. The standard CANopen interface enables easy commissioning and calibration via PC. In addition, cable lengths of up to 200 meters are possible. All settings can be viewed and adjusted via the VNC Viewer software - which is a plus in terms of user-friendliness.

Industrial scales that pay off: Smart features that support the user

Minebea Intec offers innovative products and solutions for reliable weighing along the process chain. A complete range of industrial bench and floor scales, as well as individual components and accessories, allows the configuration of a weighing solution that can be tailored exactly to the requirement profile of a specific application: Whether loads from 0.001 g to 3,000 kg, from conformity-rated to hygienic to EX-certified. The result: highly precise and reliable measurement results at any time, for any requirement.

The areas of application are diverse: Industrial scales are used in many areas of quality control, such as checkweighing and completeness verification, classification, sorting and counting by weight, or also in dosing and formulation as part of recipe management. Industrial scales are also used for checking inventories, production quantities or goods issues, or for statistical control of production processes. The versatile portfolio, coupled with individual smart features for the respective application (such as automatic piece weight optimisation for counting scales or the use of the miOPC software) make a significant contribution to increasing the efficiency of productions.

Software: How a few clicks increase efficiency and output

In addition to the smart features of weighing and inspection solutions, Minebea Intec's new MiOPC software ensures that weighing technology can also be networked across manufacturers. More economical and flexible processes are the main goal of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). OPC UA creates the necessary conditions for this and offers a common language basis for all plants and systems. The global manufacturer of industrial weighing and inspection technologies Minebea Intec was significantly involved in the definition of the OPC UA Companion Specification for Weighing Technology and paves the way for the digitalization of weighing technology with its miOPC software.

So-called OPC UA Companion Specifications describe the variety of technical systems in industry and define their special requirements, which differ considerably, for example, in the topics of sensor technology, control technology or robotics and cannot be adequately covered in a single higher-level standard. For weighing technology, twelve of the world's leading manufacturers in this field have now recently defined their own OPC UA Companion Specification with the support of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units (ISW) at the University of Stuttgart. Minebea Intec, as one of the world's leading manufacturers of industrial weighing and inspection technologies, was significantly involved in the development of the OPC UA Companion Specification for Weighing Technology (VDMA Standard 40200: 2020-06).

SPC@Enterprise and ProRecipe XT: Intelligent Software for Production

Speaking of networking: Strong software tools such as SPC@Enterprise ensure that the customer maintains an overview of the entire production. The modular software collects data from a wide range of devices and systems along the production line and efficiently supports the optimization of production processes and product quality. In addition to SPC@Enterprise, the ProRecipe XT software is suitable for centrally controlling manual recipe processes, thus saving valuable time in the production process and increasing safety.

The pleasing result for manufacturers: less production waste, fewer risks, shorter downtimes and significant savings in the items of working time and operating costs. Automation with an ERP system increases efficiency, data transfer and feedback to higher-level systems increases security and replaces manual typing or documenting. The digitalization and centralization of data and control ensures faster analysis, traceability and the advantage of controlling production outside the production line.

Avoiding production downtimes - with the miRemote service tool

Minebea Intec also provides an innovative digital solution for its customers in the event of service with the miRemote tool: Via the augmented reality app, the customer establishes a direct video connection via smartphone or tablet. Through the camera of the smartphone or tablet used, the technician sees exactly what the customer has in front of him. In an emergency, operating errors or error messages are thus diagnosed and concrete assistance is provided. The service technician demonstrates to the participant all the features that are used for guidance in a service case. "In addition to new products, we are constantly working on providing existing products with smart upgrades." Willy-Sebastian Metzger grants a look behind the scenes. "Especially in times of Industry 4.0, topics such as networking, automation and decentralised control play a major role: we see modern features as an innovation driver, as the miRemote service tool proves with its use of augmented reality technology. All in the interests of the customer - who not only saves time and money with our solutions, but can also rely on precise and reliable technology from a market leader."

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