Published in Machines and Equipment
The weighing module Novego®

 

“Our weighing module Novego demonstrates why rethinking designs and requirements is always worthwhile. When developing the innovative mounting kit and lateral force-resistant load cell combination, we consistently applied feedback from our customers to form and refine the product. It proved to be a success! Novego stands ahead of its class and offers unique benefits on the market.” In an interview, Klaus Vayhinger (Research and Development) and Uwe Kummetz (Sales) from Minebea Intec gave us some interesting insights into the Novego development process. 

 

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Klaus Vayhinger, in load cell development, you're responsible for designing and realising new types of load cell, amongst other things. What were the specific challenges in developing the weighing module Novego?

The requirements as regards lateral force resistance led to many considerations. In the end, the principle of plate spring geometry became the starting point for being able to absorb lateral force without affecting measurement. It soon became evident that a high number of strain gauges on the measuring element and especially precise positioning of the strain gauges would play a central role. Then, using FEM (finite element method) calculations, we first worked a lot of things out theoretically so we could then build the promising concepts mechanically. Here, we needed to “polish” things, which meant we were constantly refining the FEM calculation model in order to eventually make the theoretical and practical elements match up perfectly.

Once you had developed guaranteed lateral force resistance, what came next?

For our customers, some knowledge of how to correctly mount a conventional load cell is needed so as to ensure the accuracy requirements are met. That’s why the idea came about a long time ago of developing a lateral force-resistant load cell that doesn’t compromise on accuracy or require lifting protection or horizontal guides, all the while also keeping the vessel in place. Following the first few successful customer tests, it was clear that mechanical integration of the load cell in the application required particular attention. This is where product management was started, whereby we held a workshop with various customers to determine the requirements for different applications and industries. These requirements were assessed by our engineers who then developed and implemented their ideas.

And how about the production environment requirements?

Another challenge was posed by the customers’ high demand for cleanability. In order to achieve good corrosion resistance and a high level of ingress protection (IP68 and IP69), it was necessary to use a type of steel that’s completely new in weighing technology. Hermetically sealing the measuring chamber also cost us time and energy. But the hard work was all worth it. For a developer, it’s always exciting to create something that’s truly new and to be there from the concept phase right through to series production. Two of my personal highlights that came from our team are the height adjustment and tilt correction features, which are unique solutions in our industry.

 

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Uwe Kummetz, you’re responsible for silo and vessel weighing in the Sales division in Germany, amongst other things. What was your first involvement with the weighing module Novego?

I was involved as early as the initial test phases through product management. It was perfect timing since one of my biggest customers was just in the design phase for a new generation process vessel. I presented the new weighing module to them and received direct feedback about our product design. Customer feedback helped us to develop our mounting aid and transport protection, for example.

What are the problems or requirements that can be solved or met in the long term with Novego?

Aside from general hygiene requirements, it’s actually the mechanical details that repeatedly present a challenge for customers. It could be the maximum permissible lifting force, horizontal lateral force, seismic force or a simple agitator and its long-term impacts. Offering a simple, reliable solution to these challenges helps our customers enormously and reduces their outlay.

How is Novego being received on the market?

Feedback has been 100% positive. Our customers can see that we know their processes, as well as the various challenges they face. By talking to our customers, we can discuss these issues in detail and, with Novego, present a custom solution to help them optimise their processes. In their evaluation of the product, customers then determine to what extent the costs of the improvements are offset by the benefits they offer. With Novego, this is very clearly the case. The weighing module shows how innovative it can be to implement process vessel weighing and then also meet the requirements in terms of size and design.

www.minebea-intec.com

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