If you’re like me and you’ve had an urgent delivery of parts for a breakdown, or time critical job, show up just in the nick of time (yeah!) only to find that some of the parts are missing from the kit (boo!) then you know how frustrating the experience can be. If this has happened to you then it is likely that the parts supplier was not using a SCACO supplied checkweighing solution for quality control at the dispatch area.
Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems in Melbourne, a supplier of quality brake and suspension kits to the automotive industry, did not want to be like the supplier above. They too needed to guarantee the correct packing of each of their many different parts kits prior to the point of dispatch, a critical quality control requirement. So, they approached SCACO to develop a system that would check each packed kit by checking its known, correct weight.
Each of the 30+ speciality parts kits, for example for a particular brake pad kit, has a predetermined weight. To differentiate the kits each unique kit is designated by a unique barcode. If any parts are missing, the SCACO checkweigher system, knowing the correct weight, would immediately recognise the error and flag the pack for inspection.
Simply put, the checkweighing system is made up of three components: checkweigher belt; Systec 6000E controller; barcode scanner.
Above: packing kit orders prior to dispatch
In more detail, the system comprises a variable speed drive checkweighing conveyor belt fitted with precision loadcells and a handy, SCACO-made box-lid guide. Keep in mind also that many options for length and width for the belt are available. Choose what you need. The fully programmable weight indicator, the German-made Systec 6000E, provides the system intelligence, and an integrated hand-held barcode scanner assists with the automation.
The name and correct weight of each of the kits and the kit identifier (Barcode) are programmed by SCACO technicians into the Systec IT6000E indicator. The purpose written SCACO software application takes care of the rest.
The kit travels onto the weigh conveyor, where it stops, is checked and evaluated by the system, and if found to be within tolerances it continues into the in-line strapping machine.
Packed Brake Shoe Kit ready for dispatch within tolerance? NO! Bummer!
Brake Shoe Kit now within tolerance? Yes! Yippee! Quality controlled and assured!
But if an ‘out of tolerance’ pack weight is detected as in the first image above, the system then reverses the belt and the pack is presented back so the operator so she can inspect the kit, identify the error, and add or correct what is missing. The corrected kit is then sent through for re-evaluation. With the operator screen displaying messages and colour changes, a quick glance is all that is needed to check the status of a pack.
And, with every transaction being logged, Meritor is able to see what happened and when. The log files can be transmitted via FTP or can be downloaded at a later time via USB. All the databases can be updated from a central PC and the system activity can also be viewed from that same location in real time.
Meritor were so impressed that they purchased two systems, and I am led to believe that they have had a 100% detection rate – no incorrect packs have been dispatched!