Our Weight/Volume Control programme was originally designed back in 1979, when European Average Quantity Law was first launched. It has constantly been developed and improved upon since then and still remains the market leader in terms of overfill reduction and legal compliance.
We took and sustained a different approach to all our competitors, in that we combined the benefits of Average Quantity Control with Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Process Capability (Cp / Cpk), ensuring that optimum control can be achieved even where high levels of variation exist in the packing/bottling process.
When implemented correctly, Average Quantity Law is one of the few pieces of legislation that offers huge potential opportunities for FMCG packers to reduce costs. Taking away the control of the process from the operator, and relying on a computer system is a big step, but a very important one to achieve minimal giveaway.
Many sites using the Harford solution boast of overfill/giveaway levels as low as 0.1% (1ml per litre/1g per kg) - which they achieve by doing fewer process adjustments! Any legal non-conformances are instantly flagged up and require approval, and all results and actions are fully traceable, for audits and trend analyses.
Of course, wastage appears in many areas of production. Often, average quantity control is primarily used at the finished retail product stage to ensure legal compliance, but the actual savings potential lies much further upstream. This is where huge benefits can be achieved through the application of Statistical Process Control earlier in the process.
The Harford system provides simple and clear warnings and adjustment advice, to ensure the process is always in control. Data may come from a range of sources, e.g. in-line sensors, checkweighers, torquemeters, scales, etc. By taking away the subjective decision to act from the operator, and basing it on objective data and algorithms, drastic improvements in materials usage can be achieved.
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