batching systems

Sterling Systems & Controls, Inc. can provide Automatic and Semi-Automatic Ingredient Batching Systems that will improve the efficiency of your powder and bulk, or liquid, material handling process. We specialize in custom designing, engineering, and manufacturing batching systems to increase your process performance, improve product consistency, product safety, eliminate product waste, and provide robust production data collection and reporting. Ingredient batching systems can also include the blending/mixing operations, and other process equipment and controls.

The Sterling Systems & Controls ingredient batching systems utilize non-proprietary hardware as the foundation of the systems. Ingredient batching systems use industrial PC or intelligent HMI and PLC technologies. The systems are developed using industry standards, such as Microsoft Windows, SQL Server, Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk View ME, and Microsoft .NET. This means that the design approach is robust and dependable. Ingredient batching systems manage formulation, raw material lot tracking, ingredient inventory and usage, alarms for abnormal conditions, hand prompt additions (semi-automatic), move tickets to ensure the batch is being properly sequenced, and system parameters customized for each application and complete batch validation.

Sterling Systems & Controls ingredient batching systems are modular in design. They are easily expanded — many customers focus first on the most frequently used raw materials and later expand the systems to incorporate more raw materials over time. The material weighing portion of the systems consist of supply bins, scales (hoppers, conveyors and other types) and work platforms and support structures that are custom engineered for each customer application. The capacity of the supply bins range from 1 to 125 cubic-feet, and scale (hopper type) can range from 0.25 to 75 cubic-feet in capacity size.

Ingredient batching systems have included from one to eight scales, with up to 48 supply bins and feeding devices. A variety of raw ingredient feeding devices are available including auger type, vibratory feeders and rotary airlocks. Auger sizes for screw feeders range from 2” to 6” with a variety of auger flight configurations. Vibratory feeders can be provided in a wide variety of sizes, feed rates, and styles to fit almost any application. Airlocks are typically used when the ingredient material supply is in bulk bags.

The Micro, Minor and Major ingredient batching and weighing systems include many features that cannot be found elsewhere. These features ensure consistent, accurate weighments and batch integrity. Robust system designs that incorporate auger feeders include multiple pitch augers, bearings at each end of the auger feeder, seals and air gaps to ensure the material is not contaminated by bearing lubricants, and feeding/scale solutions (single and multiple scales) including gain-in-weight & loss-in-weight (continuous or batch).

Data collection and reporting for each batch produced and the equipment being controlled and monitored is the foundation of each Sterling Systems & Controls system. Ingredient batching systems will interface with most of the least cost formulation software packages and commonly used ERP systems to allow for seamless interface with existing systems.

In addition to fully automatic batching systems, Sterling Systems & Controls can provide customized semi-automatic (hand add/hand prompt) batch weighing systems. These can also be provided as Kitchen Batching Systems. Semi-automatic systems can also be incorporated together with an automatic batching system to provide a hybrid batching system. Semi-automatic systems are based on the same automation technology as automatic systems, with the same capabilities that ensure a hand-add process is monitored, processed, controlled, and documented for optimal performance and reliability. This creates a validation system for the semi-automatic batching process. All semi-automatic systems include tolerance control and lot tracking/validation to eliminate missed ingredients due to operator interruption, ensuring that all of the correct materials are being weighed to the specification of the programmable formula.

Batching and weighing systems are oftentimes known by various terms, such as Batch/Bulk Weighing Systems, Continuous Weighing Systems, Bulk Weigh Scale Systems, Micro Systems / Micro Ingredient Systems, Minor Systems / Minor Ingredient Systems, Gain-In-Weight or Loss-In-Weight Batching Systems, Weigh Hopper and Batching Systems, Batching Control Systems, and Liquid Weighing/Metering Systems.

micro ingredient batching system

Features of most ingredient batching systems include:

  • Batching of dry & liquid materials; micro, minor, and major ingredients, and hand adds
  • Inventory monitoring and control for an unlimited number of raw materials
  • Batching system automation screen
  • Tolerance control for accurate weights and batch integrity
  • RFID and/or barcode scanning
  • Lot tracking & batch validation features
  • Multiple levels of security, password protection
  • Automation of material conveying/feeding devices (dry & liquid)
  • Prompting of hand-additions (systems with semi-automatic batching)
  • Automation of mixers
  • Automation of upstream and downstream equipment
  • Pneumatic & Mechanical conveyor automation
  • Multiple operating platforms (Software & Hardware)
  • Operator interface devices throughout process with ergonomic designs
  • Enclosures available in stainless steel, mild steel, or composite materials (NEMA rated)
  • Scheduling
  • Workstations/tables for platform scales, shelves to support other equipment such as printers, bar code readers, and displays
  • Equipment monitoring for abnormal conditions & run times
  • Automatic routing of the finished product

Batching System Videos