Constant, Consistent Height Measurement for Cereal Dough Using Banner Sensors
A leader in the food industry manages an impressive portfolio of popular brands. Their products are found in households around the globe. Over their long history, the company has earned a solid reputation for product quality, taste and nutrition.
The dough for one of the company’s many popular breakfast cereals must fall within specific height parameters to ensure that it will have the perfect flake. Dough that is too thick will emerge from baking stiff and heavy. Dough that is too thin will crumble easily. This impacts the quality, taste and texture of the final product as well as product weight and packaging. Any product that does not meet the rigorous quality standards of the company will not be shipped or sold on the consumer market.
To maintain quality standards, inspectors took periodic measurements of the dough using micrometers. Operators used these measurements to make adjustments to the nip rollers to correct the dough’s height. Measurement inconsistencies and other mistakes were easy to make. If dough was too thick or too thin, staff would have to halt the line and remove the dough. The cost in lost productivity and time across several production lines exceeded $150,000 annually. The company wanted to automate the process to improve consistency, save time and reduce expenses.
Working with KOM, the company deployed an L-GAGE LH Series Laser Sensor onto the cereal extruder. The sensor features a high resolution 1024 pixel CMOS linear imager capable of micrometer level resolutions, making it ideal for measurement applications requiring a high degree of accuracy. The L-GAGE LH provides continuous non-contact height measurement of the dough as it travels towards the oven. As variations in the dough occur, adjustments to the nip rollers can easily be made to maintain a proper and consistent dough height.