Operator Downtime Can Be Alarming

Every time an alarm happens, an operator has to read the alarm, and then answer the alarm, in order for the batching process to continue.

If an ingredient is constantly over shooting and causing an out of tolerance condition then not only are you loosing money from the error in weighing, but you are loosing money from lost time due to alarms. Let’s suppose that the feeder always over shoots and you have an alarm once every batch. It takes about ten seconds for an operator to recognize, read, and answer an alarm (if he or she is not occupied with something else) so that’s 10 seconds x 36000 or 6,000 minutes. At a batch every 10 minutes that’s 600 batches x 3 tons, or 1800 tons of missed production. If you are selling the product for 250.00 per ton then you missed $450,000.00 worth of production. So what can you do to minimize error and increase accuracy? Fine tune the system. Look at your batch records and alarm log and zero in on problem ingredients. Look for ingredients that are constantly going over. Also, look for ingredients that are jogging excessively. When you find them, ask your self the following questions: Is the feeder sized right for the amount of material that you are trying to weigh? Too big and it will likely overshoot the target, too small and it will take forever. You may be able to add a variable speed drive to optimize the accuracy, or put the ingredient in a different bin with the correct sized feeder. Can the ingredient free fall be adjusted? Some systems do not have active free fall compensation so the amount of ingredient that is in flight after the feeder stops needs to be fine tuned. If this is not possible, and the feeder is constantly over shooting the target, then you may want to adjust the formula tolerances to give you a more realistic window. This will at least eliminate the alarm condition. If you do not have the time to fine tune your system, contact our techs about a visit, or ask about our customer service agreements.