A vital process in many manufacturing operations, efficient bulk ingredient measuring and dosing requires both speed and precision. The optimal dosing solution accurately measures ingredients to ensure consistent, repeatable recipe formulations for a wide variety of products produced on a single manufacturing line. Consistency and repeatability are essential to reduce waste and ensure high quality products.
Bulk ingredient measuring has been done manually for centuries, but human measurement is inherently flawed — it’s only as accurate as the person doing the measuring. Manual measurement also tends to be slow and offers limited opportunity for data tracking and record keeping. Automated dosing offers many advantages over manual methods and has become the industry standard over the last 50 years. Machines can perform repetitive tasks faster and more accurately than human beings, but automation can be technically challenging and expensive.
From food and beverage to pharmaceuticals, and from plastics to chemical products, accurate measurement plays a pivotal role in creating products that meet the highest standards of purity and safety, over thousands of iterations. Utilizing the right measuring or dosing solution ensures that the exact quantities of each ingredient are meticulously produced, resulting in products that on spec and safe to use or consume.
Benefits of Bulk Ingredient Measuring and Dosing Systems
Accurate Recipe Formulation
Automated bulk ingredient measuring systems guarantee that recipes are consistently replicated in each batch. This ensures products maintain their intended characteristics over long periods of time. Inaccurate recipes result in unusable products that must be reworked or scrapped.
Reduction of Ingredient Waste and Costs
Waste is more than just discarded ingredients; it's also a drain on resources and a blow to sustainability efforts. Automated bulk ingredient measuring minimizes waste, translating directly into substantial cost savings. It also supports responsible resource usage by reducing scrap, a crucial consideration in today's environmentally conscious world. Automation has higher upfront costs but offers many years of reduced operating expense and scrap.
Improved Lot Tracking and Record Keeping
Automated material dosing supports accurate and timely lot tracking. Government regulations for both food and pharmaceutical production require extensive batch, lot, and ingredient tracking and tracing. Automated dosing ensures that data entry is fully automated and captured in real-time, leading to faster analysis and problem resolution. This quick response reduces scrap, rework, and higher production utilization.
Improved Production Efficiency and Consistency
In manufacturing, consistency is synonymous with reliability. Accurate ingredient measurements reduce variations in production, enabling consistent product quality. This not only bolsters customer satisfaction but also streamlines production processes. As a result, wasted production time spent making off-spec products is reduced, optimizing throughput.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Bulk Ingredient Measuring and Dosing Systems
Accuracy and Precision
Accuracy is expensive. Therefore, the degree of accuracy required for each bulk ingredient in a specific recipe should be assessed and carefully designed for maximum cost effectiveness. Different measurement systems use different methods to measure product weight or volume. Measurement accuracy can also be impacted by environmental factors in the production line and the equipment’s location in the plant. Selecting the appropriate measuring system is critical to guaranteeing the quality and uniformity of end products.
Physical characteristics of the material to be batched require an evaluation of the compatibility of the measuring system. Varying textures, densities, and physical characteristics can impact measurement accuracy, requiring dosing rates to be adjusted accordingly. Ideally, the chosen system should be able to handle a diverse range of ingredients — from powders to granules — with equal proficiency. Further, materials with vastly different characteristics used in a single batch may require multiple dosing strategies and equipment. When it comes to dosing, one strategy does not always cover all bases.
The ability of the bulk ingredient measuring system to adapt to changing production demands is another key consideration. The optimal system effortlessly adapts to varying batch sizes without affecting precision. Dosing systems should also have the ability to handle similar materials with different characteristics (for example, same product from different suppliers), or entirely new materials required for new formulations or recipes.
Installation and Integration
A measuring system that seamlessly integrates into an existing production line ensures a smooth transition and minimizes disruptions. Consider factors such as space requirements, installation process, and compatibility with other equipment.
Speed and Process Optimization
Measurement is also impacted by production timing and efficiency. A product requiring a lot of ingredients and a short mixing time requires rapid dosing to maximize mixer utilization. Multiple dosing systems, running in parallel, may be necessary to fulfill the processing requirements. Process optimization requires careful consideration of each ingredient’s measurement and dosing requirements in order to attain target production throughput goals.
AZO’s Bulk Ingredient Measuring and Dosing Systems
AZO designs and engineers several different types of bulk ingredient measuring and dosing systems. Solutions include both automated dosing for high volume ingredients, and manual dosing for low volumes or ingredients requiring special handling. In either case, electronic data collection is available to ensure accuracy and satisfy reporting requirements. Depending on the selected model and its features, this equipment supports a range of processing and application needs. All AZO Measuring and Dosing Systems are custom engineered to meet the unique specifications of each material. AZO’s Measuring and Dosing solutions include:
AZO’s weighing systems incorporate load cells to accurately measure the weight of ingredients. For gain-in-weight dosing, the load cells are located below the vessel or container the product is measured into from the feeder. For loss-in-weight dosing, the load cells are located under the storage container from which the ingredient is sourced. In either case, these systems guarantee the precise ingredient measurement essential for meeting the requirements of exacting formulations. From delicate spices to heavy bulk materials, AZO’s weighing systems provide reliable and consistent measurements, ensuring the end product meets stringent quality standards.
Volumetric systems from AZO measure ingredients based on their volume. Utilizing this measurement approach is useful when raw material densities are not an issue — such as when dosing liquids. The advantages of volumetric systems are their simplicity and relatively low cost.
Trust AZO for Your Bulk Ingredient Measuring and Dosing System Needs
Bulk ingredient measuring and dosing systems are critical to ensuring consistent, repeatable recipes and formulations. AZO designs advanced bulk ingredient measuring solutions to meet the diverse needs of a variety of industries. Their innovative, custom designed measuring systems provide years of accurate and consistent dosing in the food, pharmaceutical, plastics, and chemical industries — ensuring high accuracy while reducing waste and enhancing operational efficiency.
By investing in a robust bulk ingredient measuring and dosing system from AZO, manufacturers can maintain their commitment to delivering high quality products while optimizing production speed and flexibility.