An actuator is the critical component of an automatic weighing machine which controls the weighing operations of that machine. Your multihead weigher would not operate without actuators.
Basically, an actuator is a ‘mover’. It moves the buckets on your weigher ensuring they open and close at the right times so that your products are portioned and weighed accurately.
So, a Yamato actuator is a sum of its parts rather than a simple moving device.
Keeping your actuators in tiptop condition is vital to maintain the accuracy of your weighing machines and profit margin. Find out more about weighing machine maintenance here.
Let’s have a look at:
- What is a Yamato actuator
- How they work
- Why they’re important
- Repairing and/or replacing actuators
- Genuine parts and service – don’t cut corners
What is a Yamato actuator
A Yamato actuator is a modular unit that controls the weighing functions of multihead weighing machines. There is one actuator on each weigh head so a 10 head machine will have 10 actuator units, a 14 head will have 14 and so on.
Actuators control the opening and closing of the buckets to ensure that materials loaded into the weigher are measured and apportioned correctly. They contain the loadcell, which is the weigher’s measuring device. This needs to be calibrated (zero and span set points) typically once a year by Yamato engineers. A certificate will be issued for the whole machine calibration.
These actuator units can be swapped to different positions on the same machine or in another similar machines to aid fault finding.
How actuators work
The actuator unit contains stepper motors to operate each bucket on a multihead weigher. Typically, there are two motors in each actuator unit. The actuator unit can also control other parts of the machine such as linear feed pan.
Actuators are ‘intelligent’ units with data communication to the central processing unit.
Why are actuators important?
That’s easy. Put simply, your multihead weighing would not work without actuators. Actuators are essential to your machines performance because they contain the ‘load cell’ or ‘weighing scale’ of the machine, as well as the motors and mechanism which control the movements of the buckets.
It’s important that you monitor your machines’ actuators for zero drift errors. This means that your machine will display weights which are inaccurate. This could have a detrimental impact on production and your profit margin.
A Zero Drift Error (reading) can occur after you have re-zeroed an actuator, perhaps after changing from one product to another with differing parameters or by the incorrect assembly of the machine after cleaning. The zero value drifts, thus showing a weight which does not exist. If you don’t address this issue quickly it can become exacerbated over time, affecting accuracy and resulting in overweight packs and expensive product giveaway.
The risk of producing underweight packs is also increased. Selling such packs is illegal under The Weights and Measures legislation. Actuator failures can have a detrimental impact upon weighing performance, reducing the number of heads available for weighing and potentially reducing production output – and your compliance to both supermarket regulations and wider legislation. That’s why your actuators are important.
Repair or replace
Because actuators are modular units they can be removed from the machine for repair using genuine Yamato parts.
If, in the event of a general actuator failure, whereby weigh heads are inhibited and an actuator repair has been neglected, production levels, as well as the speed and accuracy of your machine, will be significantly reduced. In these instances, it’s best to replace the actuator. To ensure you minimise your downtime it’s worth keeping a stock of actuators and spares. But effective spares management will help you to get the most out of this process.
Experiencing zero drift is an indicator that your actuator may need to be repaired or replaced. Zero drift can become apparent after undertaking a re-zero in the manual operation screen following removal, cleaning and replacing the buckets. Watch the display for a change in weight – any movement above 0.5g over a ten-minute period will require the attention of a Yamato engineer. The more severe the error, the greater the weight shift will be over a shorter period of time.
Don’t cut corners
Only Yamato can supply Yamato Scale guaranteed parts. These parts are genuine, certified, warranted and specific to your machine and any repair requirements will ensure the durability and reliability of your weighing equipment.
It is important to ensure that cost-saving measures do not compromise the quality, performance and longevity of your machine for the sake of short-term gain. Using non-Yamato load cells can increase the likelihood of breakdowns as components are often of an inferior quality. These are far less accurate and are often constructed using cheaper components which are significantly less hard wearing than Genuine Parts.
All machine repairs are carried out by dedicated and experienced Yamato engineers who have undertaken rigorous training to equip them with unparalleled knowledge of Yamato’s range of weighing machines.
To avoid lengthy downtimes when problems occur, we offer an exchange actuator whilst your unit is being repaired. A Yamato engineer should always be called because their knowledge and experience will ensure that any issues are resolved promptly and professionally. Calling a general technician, who may not be familiar with the complexities of your particular weighing machines, may only compound the problem – increasing downtime and ultimately costs.
Yamato repairs and service
All Yamato repairs are carried out, with precision, by a highly qualified and experienced engineering team. Actuator repairs are completed in 7-10 days and only genuine Yamato parts are used. Yamato spares are guaranteed for 1 month and there is a 6-month warranty on all repairs.
Actuator repair ensures:
- All packs are accurately weighed to ensure compliance with Weights and Measures regulations as required by Trading Standards
- Product giveaway and waste is reduced – an important consideration in any economic climate whilst maintaining profit margins
- Optimum production levels and speed at all times