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By Industry News

January 28, 2022

Soaring corn and soy prices, which have risen globally by 40 percent and 60 percent respectively in the last 21-months, is impacting profitability all meat and protein categories. This includes pork and poultry products.

Designed specifically for the meat sector to offset these higher input costs, Fortress Technology has unveiled its new reliable high-spec Raptor Checkweigher. Counteracting wasteful and costly product giveaway, the washdown checkweigher features the latest dynamic load cell sensors for weighing meat products in motion with up to ± 0.25 gram accuracy.

For meat producers in particular, rising farmgate operational costs, soaring feed costs, notably soy and corn, are anticipated to push consumer meat and poultry prices higher. In a breakthrough advancement for North American meat producers, the Raptor Checkweigher delivers premium inspection and weight checks at a highly competitive price point.

Protecting consumers and brand reputation, as well as meeting legislative weight requirements, the robust Raptor Checkweigher also targets operational inefficiencies, including upstream product giveaway, non-conforming food packs and packaging waste. Easily integrated with existing metal detection equipment, the Raptor delivers dynamic weight monitoring with minimal customizations to existing product feed and packing lines.


Food prices reach decade high

Designed for new-generation manufacturers embracing the digital revolution, the Raptor Checkweigher addresses the immediate dairy waste processing and sustainability challenges.

Having risen to their highest price point since September 2011 according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the price of beef and veal in the US in June 2021 was 13.2 percent higher than the price before the pandemic. The price of pork in June was 11.4 percent higher than pre-pandemic prices.

Driving down expensive overfilling, the Raptor introduces innovative high-end weighing algorithms. Providing the most accurate high speed results in line with multiple global weighing legislative requirements, the in-motion, three-belt checkweigher captures thousands of sample readings of individual packs every second.

By digitizing the checkweighing process, manufacturers can rapidly achieve productivity gains and save thousands of dollars in product giveaway. Even nominal overfilling can rapidly escalate to lost profits, states Eric Garr, regional sales manager at Fortress Technology. “The level of control digital checkweighing gives versus batch checks on a fixed scale means the savings in reduced giveaway, especially on premium meat products, is very quick. In some cases, payback occurs in just several weeks or less,” notes Eric.


Future-proof flexibility

Easy to integrate, the Raptor Checkweigher can operate as a standalone product feed and packing weighing unit. Yet, for maximum efficiency, the modular electronics suite allows for full upstream and downstream integration of the system into existing product lines.

Rather than a one-piece conveyor, the Raptor’s innovative three-belt modular design seamlessly segregates tasks. On belt one products are separated and presented to the middle weighing belt with sufficient space to prevent product accumulations. In just milliseconds the pack is weighed, analyzed and data captured. Out of specification products are rejected into a raised, industry-compliant side catch bin on the third belt.

By minimizing the drop, pack and product damage is reduced allowing for rework to reduce waste. For food factories with minimal space, the standard checkweigher’s entire three-belt length measures less than 1.3 meters with a reject system (87cm or less without).


Major load cell savings

Compared to fragile electromagnetic force compensation (EMF) technology, the Raptor is more rugged and durable utilizing stable digital processing and dynamic load cell technology to adjust to and filter out mechanical vibrations commonplace in food production environments. Weighing every product that passes along the belt, the Raptor load cell and micro-resistors are optimized for a high natural resonance. “This stops the load cells oscillating, settling between each pack and allowing the Raptor to weight check up to 150 packs per minute,” explains Eric. The cost of replacement parts is also significantly less.

For volumetric fillings, mean weight tracking is another useful Raptor Checkweigher feature. “It allows for producers of meat applications in sauces or as part of a convenience food dish to compare the average weight over a set timeframe to pre-determined upper and lower weight thresholds. Where the density of these products might shift, the Raptor automatically regulates the target weight tolerances without human intervention. Although there are ‘hard stop’ limits, mean weight tracking helps to accommodate products where volume is maintained but the weight shifts,” expands Eric.


Solid and stable

Mais rugged and durable than most EMF checkweighers, though just as precise, the Raptor can check meat packs weighing up to 17lbs.

Designed with easy maintenance, quick access to the load cell and modular electronics components for straightforward upgrades, the stainless steel design is robust and can be introduced to an existing line with minimal customizations. Built to a standard 800mm (+/- 50mm) height with options for a 200mm, 300mm, or 400mm belt width, the Raptor introduces a new tight fitting conveyor concept with a quick motor release.

Overcoming the longstanding industry challenge of loosening belt tracking during regular machine sanitation, operatives simply unclip and disconnect the conveyor motor. In just seconds, the conveyor belt is removed, released for maintenance and cleaning. The belt tension and tracking is instantly restored when clipped back into place. Without the use of a single tool.

Rather than hiding valuable statistical information deep in menus, the Raptor features a digital 18.5-inch touchscreen HMI. As with all Fortress equipment, this user-friendly screen, which can be integrated with a Fortress metal detector, offers visual prompts and simple, multi-lingual operation. Up to 500 different weight and product categories can be pre-programmed into the Raptor Checkweigher. As with all Fortress Technology inspection equipment, the Raptor comes with the highly-valued Never Obsolete guarantee.

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