Hera is designed to scatter and weigh dry inclusions with accuracy and precision and helps companies automate the process and cut inclusion waste by over 50%
Sparc Systems has launched a loss-in-weight depositor, designed to help meat, fish, bakery, fresh produce, dairy and confectionery manufacturers save money by eliminating waste.
Rather than sieving or scattering dry free-flowing products onto applications manually or using waterfall style dispensers, Sparc’s device deploys a loss-in-weight control system and feeder featuring a vibrator sitting on top of load cells. Hera is typically integrated onto processing lines prior to packaging and contaminant inspection. Two Hera machines can also be integrated with a single control weight station and used as a salt and cure depositor for bacon.
As each conveyorised product passes in front of the Hera sensor, the depositor feeder tray vibrates gently scattering the dry ingredients, for instance spices, along the entire width of the product. To prevent high waste levels and address the issue of powder accumulating in and around the machinery and conveyor system, instead of a continuous stream, the dispensing slows and stops until a new product tray passes in front of its sensor.
European Sales Manager, Charlie Graham said: “Many inclusions, for example spices, candied fruits and nuts, vitamins and nutritional fibres like chia seeds, are high value ingredients. When added to product applications the concentration needs to be carefully controlled to minimise waste. During the development of Hera we observed that when done manually, the majority of inclusion product ended up on the floor or conveyor. Naturally, this wasted product cannot be reworked due to cross contamination and hygiene practices. Additionally, when large quantities of fine powders accumulate in and around sensitive machinery, this affects the performance of automation and inspection equipment.
“In terms of efficiency and control, automating this task leads to considerable savings on what’s effectively a highly repetitive and labour intensive task. To maintain a consistent 1 gram dispensing rate is impossible to achieve by hand,” added Charlie.
Digital data of the volumetric deposits is captured and stored by the management control system. For traceability, this data can be networked or saved to a memory stick.
The system can program and store up to 500 different product codes. The graphical interface makes it simple to select the correct food application and code to reduce set up time. Additionally, the self diagnostics feature helps food manufacturers to maintain the highest performance levels.
The device is also supplied with Sparc’s high care conveyor and ‘no-tool’ maintenance concept. Operators can unclip and disconnect conveyor motor and lift out the entire conveyor assembly for maintenance and cleaning. Belt tension and alignment are restored when clipped back into place, the company says.