Choosing the Correct Rocker Column Load Cell Cups

Load cells used in truck scales or rail scales are exposed to temperature-induced expansion and contraction. Canister load cell technology couldn’t account for the temperature-induced errors, so rocker column load cells were developed to replace them.

Rocker column load cells have rounded upper and lower loading surfaces that are spaced out from the strain gages. This is to avoid stresses from the high contact areas. Spherical radii are either placed on the loading surface or where the load measurement is made and at the outer extremities. This is to avoid dispositioning as the column rocks and minimize errors caused by weighbridge shortening. It is important to choose a rocker column load cell that will compensate for when the load cell is offset. Rocker column load cells should also be hermetically sealed at both the strain gage location and cable entry. Compensating for load errors are vital to obtaining accurate measurements and meeting quality standards.

Truck scales are often used to sell products by weight, so they need to meet NTEP quality standards. It is important to have the correct load cell cup installed! Here’s a video to help you make sure you have the right cups for your rocker column load cells. Contact us for your truck scale calibration or installation. We’d be happy to help!




Grand Rapids Metrology Travels the Globe!

We have worked with some of the top 10 automotive manufacturers in the world and are most known for our automated vehicle weighing systems! These systems weigh vehicles as they come off production lines to ensure quality standards are met. Projects have been done in Canada, Mexico, India, and China! Because we help make sure you are in accordance with rules and regulations, we get to work on some pretty cool projects. We created a floor scale system that communicates with a PC to record weights of packed shipping containers to guarantee our customer met international SOLAS requirements. We created this system in 5 different countries: China, France, Romania, Spain, and Germany! We help make your customers happy by creating an in-motion check-weighing system that will check the weight of packed boxes. This is to compare the weight of the packed box against the weight of the product to make sure everything equals out! No customer wants to receive the wrong product or missing products when they open their package. These systems have been installed in London, Canada, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary, and Poland! To shed some light on the projects we’ve done in the United States, we’ve had the pleasure of doing business in New Jersey, Georgia, Washington, California, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky. We may be established in 5 different locations throughout Michigan, but that doesn’t stop us from striving to ensure safety, customer satisfaction and quality throughout the world! Contact us for more information on our custom solutions. We might just transform your process.

5 Reasons to Outsource Calibration

 

Calibration is a necessity in many industries. The question that comes into play is whether to do it in-house or to outsource it. There are arguments for both, but the best option depends largely on your company’s resources.

You’ll need to consider the many costs of in-house calibration. It’s not abnormal for a new facility and lab equipment to cost over $250,000 let alone the $75,000 to run it annually. That’s just for the calibration lab itself. Employees will need additional training. Increased responsibility will assume increased wages. Hiring new employees to perform calibration procedures will tack on salary and healthcare costs. Routine calibration is necessary to maintain quality standards. This could lead to 10 or 20 instruments needing calibration at a time. Time is taken away from daily tasks and production. If your company is large enough to take on these costs and utilizes several instruments that need calibration, over time these costs will even out, and the company may save money. Though some companies could afford to take on in-house calibration, here are 5 strong arguments for outsourcing calibration services.

 

1. Faster turnaround time

Not only does internal calibration take time away from daily tasks, but the daily tasks take time away from calibration. Outsourcing consistently gets faster results. Third-party facilities operate all day focusing solely on calibrations. In-house labs have a limited time and employees to dedicate to calibration causing a longer turnaround time which could be detrimental to operations.

 

2. Lower OPEX

Outsourcing has a faster turnaround time which decreases the downtime of production costs. Rental costs are decreased because companies won’t have to use them as often or for as long. Spares and rentals can cost companies millions of dollars a year. Calibration labs must comply with ISO 17025 standards. Outsourcing eliminates the costs associated with in-house audits. Companies commonly save 10 to 25% on overall operating expenditures by outsourcing calibration services.

 

3. Lower CAPEX

Calibration is not a core competency of many businesses, but it is for third-party providers. Calibration service providers make substantial capital investments on upgraded equipment, technicians, and climate-controlled labs. In-house calibration labs may be limited to due budgets. This could force internal labs to use outdated equipment at the edge of its lifecycle. Outsourcing calibration will give companies access to state-of-the-art equipment to calibrate their instruments to the highest degree of quality standards.

 

4. Improved Audit Compliance

Outsource partners maintain calibration records in a centralized database and will often grant you access to check your calibration certificates 24/7. This helps prove standard compliance at the most critical time, the quality audit.

 

5. Higher Quality

Calibration labs must meet industry standards and regulations. Third-party accredited labs use strict measures to test and audit their calibration equipment. These accredited labs ensure higher quality assurance and more accurate results. Inaccurate calibrations could result in product recalls.

 

When comparing the overall costs and risks associated with in-house calibration to outsourcing, the benefits of outsourcing are evident. Emerging technologies and stricter regulations create a constant need to upgrade and audit calibration labs. If you’re still considering implementing an in-house calibration lab be sure to take into account hardware, floor space, employees, training, and turnaround time. If you decide to outsource, Grand Rapids Metrology has five different locations across the state including two calibration labs. Our labs are A2LA ISO/IEC 17025 accredited, and we provide emergency service 24/7/365.

 

SOURCES:

Why it’s time to outsource

In-house vs Outsource

Are You Questioning Calibration?

Most companies have a quality department that ensures their measuring equipment is calibrated on a regular basis, but occasionally an item is questioned on whether or not it should be included in the calibration program. Calibration is also questioned when it comes to certain situations. Companies are sure to include their own equipment in the quality program to be calibrated on a regular basis, however, they often overlook employee-owned instruments which are occasionally used. If these instruments are being used to qualify product, they must also be calibrated. Companies that encourage or permit the use of employee-owned tools, must include these tools in their calibration program. The owner of these tools may not want the equipment to have a calibration sticker on it or be held accountable to a standard. This should be discussed on the front end. In fact, it may be better to prohibit the use of employee-owned tools to better track the equipment used in your process. Equipment often overlooked and called into question are hard gages. This includes gage blocks, plug gages, pin gages, ring gages, and thread plug gages. If an item is in question, think of what it’s used for. If it’s used to qualify something, it must be calibrated on a regular basis. Don’t attempt to cut costs by only calibrating tools that are used for the final inspection. Uncalibrated instruments can end up being used accidentally, and it is often hard to prove that every feature of the product is verified at final inspection. Attempting to cut costs could, instead, end up increasing costs. If final inspections reveal product is off, this could result in recalls or thousands of finished products ending up as scrap. One way to cut costs without jeopardizing the quality of your product is to analyze equipment calibration reports. Compare the results over time to see if there’s room to lengthen the calibration cycle for your equipment. If an item is costing more money in calibration compared to others, it may be time to replace the equipment. Our customers have access to their equipment calibration reports 24/7 through our online customer portal. They are able to view their previous calibrations and when calibration is due next for each piece of equipment. If you have any questions regarding calibration, equipment, or CERTLINK, don’t hesitate to reach out! SOURCES: Quality Magazine

Learn What An Oscilloscope Is, How To Choose The Correct One, & Properly Take Care Of It

Oscilloscopes test, measure and display voltage signals. Signals are plotted on a graph to demonstrate how the signal changes over time. Oscilloscopes provide reliable results over an extensive period of time and are used in a variety of industries ranging from healthcare to automotive. Health care workers use oscilloscopes to monitor a patient’s heartbeat and to observe brain waves. Physicists and other research scientists use oscilloscopes to track tiny particles and to analyze the impact of various signals such as mobile or television. Engineers and electronic technicians use them the most out of any occupation. Electronic and electrical engineers rely on them for designing electrical equipment. Sound engineers use oscilloscopes to observe vibrations in engines and computer design engineers use them to determine processor speed and frequency. Even automobiles advance to incorporate more electronic equipment each year and need oscilloscopes to troubleshoot automotive issues. There are many oscilloscopes to choose from. To choose the best option for the application, consider the bandwidth, input channels, sample rate, record length, vertical resolution, and other various features. The bandwidth needs to capture all frequency components of the signal. A good rule of thumb is the bandwidth should be greater than 5x the highest signal frequency. More input channels increase awareness around what’s going on in the design. Mixed signal oscilloscopes offer both digital and analog channels to increase visibility. The faster the sample rate, the greater the wavelength resolution. This helps ensure critical information isn’t lost. It is recommended that the sample rate is greater than 5x the highest frequency component to capture all signal details. Record length is the number of samples stored in a single acquisition. Due to storing a limited number of samples, the waveform duration is inversely proportional to the sample rate. A longer record length allows for a longer duration to be captured at high resolution. Vertical resolution is greatly important when converting a signal from analog to digital. Higher bit converters capture and measure more detail. Taking into consideration the different features of an oscilloscope compared to what needs to be measured should lead to the right choice. Due to the extreme sensitivity of an oscilloscope and the importance of reliable results, professional calibration services are imperative to the quality of the equipment. When purchasing an oscilloscope, most of the time it comes calibrated and ready to use. After about a year it is time to have it professionally calibrated. This assures the user, the measurements recorded are accurate and within specification limits. Equipment may need to be tested regularly to be in compliance with specific standards. An oscilloscope that is out of tolerance will result in false information when a product is measured. Your oscilloscope may need to be calibrated more or less than a year. Calibration intervals should take into account the accuracy of the instrument, the impact an out of tolerance oscilloscope would have on the process and the instruments performance history. Analyzing the calibration reports should give insight into this information. Grand Rapids Metrology would be happy to help you determine which oscilloscope best meets your application, and we’ll care for it every year after your purchase. We work with the purpose to uphold quality standards and want to ensure your measurements are accurate. SOURCES: Oscilloscope Functions Oscilloscope Industries Oscilloscope Calibration

How to Increase Quality of Food Production and Avoid Potential Recalls

According to the USDA, 1.5 million pounds of meat & poultry were recalled in 2018 due to extraneous material (plastic fragments, metal shavings, latex pieces, or other foreign materials). “The average cost of a recall for a food company is $10M in direct costs” according to a joint study by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Grand Rapids Metrology helps you keep your profit and avoid potential recalls in two ways: through metal detector systems and calibration! We were presented with an opportunity to make a customer’s food manufacturing process more efficient while mitigating extraneous material risk. As finished product is passed along a conveyor belt, the installed in-motion checkweigher simultaneously weighs the product, and the metal detector ensures product quality.

Metal detectors are an extremely useful tool. When utilized within your current process flow, product is efficiently checked. However, one should not overlook the power of calibration. The food industry prioritizes accurate weight and quality of substance, and therefore, food manufacturing standards are among the most heavily regulated.

Routine calibration helps to avoid potential recalls, due to bad batches, through obtaining reliable and accurately measured values. Many regulation and management standards for food quality stress the importance of calibration. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control (HACCP) regulations that are mandated for meat and poultry, seafood and juice references “verification records that document the calibration of process monitoring instruments.” ISO22000, the food safety management system’s requirements, states in Section 8.3, “The organization shall provide evidence that the specified monitoring and measuring methods and equipment are adequate to ensure the performance of the monitoring and measuring procedures”. Both require documentation of calibration activities to monitor the performance of equipment. Effective procedures for calibration and quality assurance can help achieve this.

Due to wear over time, instruments require calibration at set intervals. This is to ensure equipment is running at prime conditions. Putting off calibration can cause a variety of quality and compliance issues which could result in product recalls and heavy costs.

Don’t be a recall statistic. Our custom engineered solutions team will analyze your current production process and look for ways to increase efficiency as well as quality! Rely on us to keep track of your calibration needs. When a year has passed, we’ll remind you to schedule calibration! Not to mention the new and improved CERTLINK. CERTLINK is our customer portal that will allow you access to all of your calibration certificates and schedules. Reach out to us for more information!

SOURCES:

USDA

Food Safety Magazine

Process Industry Informer

Surface Plates – The Types, Use, and Calibration

 

Surface plates provide a flat plane used as a horizontal reference point for your dimensional measurements. They can be made from granite, metal, cast iron, or glass. Granite is considered to be the best material for a surface plate due to its surface hardness, low thermal expansion, no rust or corrosion, little warping, and long wear life attributes. These attributes result in very accurate, stable and precise measurements.

 

Serving as the baseline for all measurements, surface plates play a vital role in quality control. The surface is required to be extremely flat with accuracy up to 0.00001 inches or 250 nm for grade AA or AAA plates. Surface plates often check and zero out other pieces of equipment, so accurate and precise measurements are imperative. Machine shops, automotive and aerospace manufacturers require tight tolerances for shop tools and use surface plates to asses for warped areas on manufactured parts.

Surface plates must be calibrated on a regular basis, at the very least once a year, but we recommend every six months. Though granite is the ideal surface, abrasive dust or repeated sliding of gages can create wear spots that are invisible to the naked eye. Problems most commonly occur at areas with frequent use, so frequent calibration will ensure chipping, warping or wear has not occurred. An uneven surface will impact the functionality of the whole plate causing error in measurements and the passing of defected parts.

 

To maintain quality, contact Grand Rapids Metrology. GRM is a premier provider of surface plate calibration. We can assist you in ensuring its accuracy for use in your processes.

 

 

Data Loggers in Breweries

As Beer City USA, breweries have taken over GR and the rest is hops, beer, and history. Each brewery has perfected their unique process of craft beer production. To ensure quality and the individualistic taste, which sets each brewery apart, data loggers are used throughout the production process to monitor and record different factors such as CO2, Pressure, Humidity, Temperature, and pH.

CO2

Carbon dioxide is given off by yeast during fermentation, it is used during the bottling process, used to give beer carbonation, and to allow extended shelf life. CO2 is a naturally occurring chemical compound; however, in large amounts, it can be toxic. In breweries, the maximum permitted carbon dioxide concentration is 5%  during an 8 hour period. To protect the production of your product as well as the health of your personnel, it’s important to track the amount of CO2 being produced.

Temperature

Temperature is monitored throughout the entire process, but it is particularly important during the mash, fermentation, and pasteurization processes. During the hot water steeping process, malt enzymes are activated producing sugars. During the fermentation process, sugars are broken down by yeast. Yeast is greatly affected by temperature. Too high of a temperature can cause the yeast to grow in abundance, and too low of temperature could cause the yeast to go dormant. Pasteurization is the process of heat-treating beer to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. One will want to closely monitor the temperature to ensure a consistent taste within their product. Minimal differences in temperature can greatly affect the quality. For this reason, high precision and accuracy are needed in the process. Thermocouple sensors aren’t accurate enough for this application, but data loggers are.

pH

pH is also monitored to maintain a consistent taste. It is often measured during the water treatment, malting, lautering & sparging, boil, fermentation, and yeast washing processes. Many reactions take place during the production of beer, most of which are sensitive to pH. To finer tune the individualistic taste, pH can be a useful tool to adjust and monitor. Using an automated, highly accurate, wireless system to record, monitor, and track your data is very labor and time effective. Data Loggers have alarming capability to inform you of any variance and allow information to be tracked in real time, to allow you to make any necessary changes before a batch is ruined. To browse our selection of Data Loggers, take a look at what’s offered online. If you don’t see what you need, contact us for a quote!

Legal-For-Trade Livestock Scale

Rice Lake’s MAS-LC livestock scale is 48-inches tall with 11-gauge steel kick panels on the side walls and both gates. The MAS-LC combines the accuracy of a fully electronic, load cell based, weighing system with steel I-beam weighbridge designs to result in sturdy construction. It even offers two different flooring options to provide traction for the animals. The X-Plank flooring has less-aggressive, wheel-accessible tread while the X-Lug flooring has deep aggressive tread. Both styles are made from recycled plastic and rubber material that will never rot, harbor bacteria or hold moisture. The MAS-LC has been updated to include: field configurable gates, 8-inch c-channel steel outer frame, load cell cable conduit, and a fiberglass reinforced polyester junction box. The configurable gates on the MAS-LC give operators the choice to open gates from the left or right. This helps ranchers sort animals easier and makes the process safer. The updated 8-inch c-channel steel outer frame is used to eliminate moisture buildup that could occur in tubes. Lastly, using a fiberglass reinforced polyester junction box increases protection for electronic components. The MAS-LC livestock scale provides reliable and accurate weights for ranchers and processors and it is NTEP approved. This scale is Legal-For-Trade certified to allow the selling livestock. Having Legal-For-Trade weighing equipment is essential to protect profits. Grand Rapids Metrology is premier distributor for Rice Lake equipment and now offers the updated MAS-LC livestock scale. Contact us for a quote!

Filling System Based on Time or Weight

Avery Weigh-Tronix Indicator

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data from the US Department of Labor declares performing physical activity and operating machinery constitutes 30% of time spent working (NCCI, 2017). Companies are wasting hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. GRM can custom engineer automated systems to better utilize resources, save time and money.

 

Problem

A customer, who had been using an outdated process, contacted GRM to make adjustments and engineer a system to control overflow. They were filling tanks with non-flammable gas using obsolete equipment.

 

Solution

We put in a floor scale, replaced the old unit with an updated indicator and installed customized software to control flow monitoring based on weight or time. When the fill operation begins, valves open, and a timer starts. Once the timer times out, the current weight is recorded, timer 2 starts and the user programmable rate of change value is added. Once timer 2 times out, the weight is checked to see if it has increased by the rate of change value. If it has, the weight is recorded and the timer 2 process is repeated. If the weight did not increase by the rate of change value, then the process is halted and the valves close.

 

The installed software is 100% customized to their specific measurement process. This automated system saves time and resources, minimizes error and allows the operators to focus on more imperative matters. Contact GRM to discuss how we can optimize your process!