Quality Packaging Specialists Inc., a custom contract packing company, thrives in a crowded market by providing high-quality production, responsive service and competitive prices. To consistently meet the highest quality standards on their most challenging products — small multipacks of dietary supplements — they turned to Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed and selected the XS1 checkweigher to identify and remove under- and over-weight packages.
“Everybody is looking for 100 percent quality all the time and that’s what we strive to achieve. We are here to deliver the best quality that is physically possible,” said Chuck Stoudt, President of Quality Packaging. “As the complexity of multipacks grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to assure the high level of product quality that we demand. With the XS1 checkweigher, we’re confident we’re giving customers exactly what they expect.”
The XS1 checkweigher is designed for pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, handling products of less than 200 g with unparalleled accuracy at high production speeds. Featuring Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed’s electromagnetic force restoration (EMFR) weigh cell, the XS1 achieves an accuracy of plus or minus 20 mg at 2 sigma while handling up to 400 packages per minute.
“We looked at checkweighers from three different suppliers. The accuracy at the lower end of the weight range was very important to us. The XS1 was the only one that gave us the sensitivity we needed and Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed was the only company that would give us the guarantees we were looking for,” noted Stoudt. “The XS1 was more expensive but it’s been well worth it in the long run.”
Quality Packaging produces a wide range of packaging formats for a variety of products from hardware to pharmaceuticals, but over the years, dietary supplement multipacks have grown to comprise more than 75 percent of their business.
Currently, eight packaging lines produce these multipacks, seven of which use clear films that enable the contents to be visually inspected. Installed on the eighth line that multipacks supplements in opaque foil or paper/poly pouches, the XS1 checkweighter is sensitive enough to detect and reject a multipack with a missing supplement, even if that supplement is only half the size of baby aspirin.
“As the size of tablets and capsules becomes smaller, checkweighing becomes more challenging because it requires greater accuracy. We need to know if one small tablet is missing or broken,” explained Stoudt. “Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed was the only one that would guarantee their checkweigher would consistently detect and reject such a small missing tablet. A 90 percent guarantee was not good enough. We wanted a 100 percent guarantee on this lower end. That’s why we chose the XS1.”
This one packaging line produces more than 50 unique products, typically changing over once each day. “If we’ve run the product before, the machine parameters are already stored in the checkweigher’s memory and it takes only 30 seconds to make that change on the touchscreen control panel. No hardware changes are required,” explained Stoudt.
“If we haven’t run a particular product in six months or more, the checkweigher’s graphic display is very helpful because it’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to change its products and forget to tell us. This graphic output displays the mean, the high point and the low point, and plots each package on the graph. This allows us to quickly see if the package is following the average and if it’s not, we can quickly make necessary adjustments.”
To ease use, the XS1 checkweigher features a 15-inch color touchscreen and an intuitive user interface. To ease sanitation and maintenance, it features an open, cantilevered design and plug-and-play modules that can be swapped out quickly to maximize production uptime.
“Since we installed the XS1, we’ve had no routine maintenance, other than routine cleaning, and no unplanned maintenance,” said Stoudt. “It’s been completely maintenance free. We keep it clean and it keeps running. We wipe it down at the end of every production run and during the run if it gets dusty. The open design makes it easy to clean and easy to visually inspect.”
“The Hi-Speed XS1 checkweigher has surpassed my expectations in terms of accuracy and ease of operation. And the customer service has been terrific. Our sales rep, Bob Dauphinais of Reliant Packaging Systems, is very accessible and very helpful. He’s a big reason we choose Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed — he was amenable to my concerns and was willing to make the guarantees I was seeking.”
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