News & Updates

October 10, 2014

Formula Control Scale System

It was on 21 September 1904 when two brothers, Hendrik A and Bernardus J Bakels, registered the first Bakels Company in Amsterdam. Over 100 years later, The Bakels Group operates 18 manufacturing sites based on all five continents.

These sites produce a wide range of dry blended ingredients and vegetable oil or sugar based wet products. Bakels Companies develop, manufacture, distribute and technically support bakery ingredients for every market and product sector – craft, industrial, and supermarket – bread, pastry, cake and confectionery. Their customers have grown to expect repeatability, accuracy and consistency for every product that Bakels manufacture.

For this reason, Bakels decided to invest in the Maxrix Formula Control Scale System from Matrix Controls LLC, to make their already robust batching process even tighter. Bakels needed to take their manual batching process to the next level and bridge the gap between their Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP System and the shop floor ingredient weighing and batching operations. Dynamics AX software typically manages a company’s business, including the Bills of Materials (BOM), Production Schedule and Ingredient Inventory.

Formula Control Scale System

Formula Control Scale System

Formula Control Scale System

BAKELS Simon Dawson, Operations and Engineering Manager comments “for diligence purposes, we conducted a thorough analysis of the Formula Control Scale System available. Matrix Controls has a history of Formula Control Scale Systems with installations in many countries over many years.”

“For our business, it was important that Microsoft Dynamics AX remained the master database and Stevens were able to demonstrate a clear, safe and practical method for handling our data. In addition, Matrix Controls is a company who are flexible enough to customize their hardware & software to meet the needs of a demanding, high productivity, production led operation like ours.”

Companies usually print the Production Schedule and BOM’s from Dynamics AX on a sheet of paper and hand it to the production team to complete the weighing and batching processes, and then return the completed paperwork to the production supervisors to enter the inventory used and batches made into Dynamics AX.”

This process is now well known to be problematic. Operator errors in the weighing process and inaccuracies in lot control are usually not reflected in the paper trail – this can cause problems with accounting, inventory and purchasing in addition to the quality of the product from batch to batch.

The Solution – Maxrix Formula Control Scale System

It all starts with a download from Microsoft Dynamics AX. Once a manufacturing order has been created in Dynamics AX, a file is transferred to the Stevens Formula Control Scale System Software containing the Production Plan (number of ingredients, required batch size and production locations) and the BOM containing the recipe steps and target weights. The available inventory is made available for the system to consume from lot numbers, stock codes and quantities.

The Production Plan is then available at the 3 custom made operator workstations. Each station consists of a Maxrix Touch Screen Formula Control Scale System, Label Printer and Barcode Scanner.

BAKELS Simon Dawson, Operations and Engineering Manager comments “The training and support given by Matrix Controls to help with these changes was exceptional and

Formula Control Scale System

Formula Control Scale System

had the immediate buy in of the operators and manager alike” The steelwork holds 2 scales at each workstation. The main weighing scale is a heavy duty unit designed for the heavier items and the small weights are weighed on a high resolution laboratory balance.

The Maxrix Touch Screen User Interface allows the Production Plan (transferred from Dynamics AX) to be displayed using easy to follow screens. This eliminates paper schedules and prevents operators making incorrect or out of sequence formulations. After selecting the required recipe, the operator follows simple screens which prompt for lot number scans. A simple speedometer display ensures the weighed items are portioned correctly and within tight, management set tolerances.

The operator cannot weigh up too much or too little as the system will not accept out of tolerance weighing. This has a big impact on batch consistency and overall product quality.

‘Mistake Free’ Paperless Lot Traceability

After the weighing is complete and the ingredients have been labelled with a unique batch number, the system uses a Maxrix Bagging Terminal and Barcode Reader to allow the whole bags to be collated with the partially weighed ingredients. This is a critical control point as the batches can be over 1000kg and contain many ingredients which are critical to the success of the batch.

The Bag Terminal allows the correct whole bags to be collated with the correct partially weighed items, ensuring the batch is 100% accurate. To provide paperless traceability, the Maxrix Formula Control Scale System creates inventory usage files in real time (after each weighed batch is complete) which are in turn used to deduct inventory from Dynamics. This improves inventory visibility in Dynamics AX, reduces man hours spent on data entry and saves time double handling data.

In addition, the Dynamics AX Maxrix System provides actual usage based on the scaling weights, instead of theoretical usage based on target weights. This allows accurate yields to be calculated which provides visibility for supplier inventory accuracy. Matrix Controls comments “The new Maxrix installation ensures the correct material is weighed out at the correct amount every time, we have seen greatly improved stock accuracy and client confidence & trust in our traceability is hugely satisfying… not to mention making audits quicker and easier.“

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