Advanced control / Business models / Standards / IT/OT Convergence / Efficiency

Digital quality control for the modern food lab

Mar 16, 2017

METER Group, Inc.announced the release of Skala, an integrated quality-control downloadsystem purpose-built for food quality labs. Skala automatically collects quality data from existing instruments and processes it into a single unified control center, which food companies can use to increase profitability, comply with regulatory requirements and improve customer satisfaction.

The average food manufacturer generates more than a ream of paper records every day, according to METER. Government regulations like the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) set rules for maintaining quality records. Under FSMA, manufacturers are expected to store records for up to two years, and inspectors and third-party auditors require access to them. As food safety laws become more stringent, quality assurance (QA) labs are sinking under the weight of all this paperwork.

“Simply digitizing paper records will not solve this problem,” explained Scott Campbell, president of METER Group. “Streams of digital data come from instruments, probes, machines, environmental monitoring. Right now, someone has to read these numbers, write them down, then type them into a computer. This creates errors and delay.”

Skala collects digital data directly from measuring devices manufacturers already have in place. Instruments, sensors and devices connect directly to Skala HUB. Data is collected digitally, creating permanent records accessed through Skala Control. Readings can be explained and corrective actions documented, but no reading can be erased or altered.

“These are the digital records auditors will expect food manufacturers to produce in the future because they are the empirical record straight from the instruments,” said Campbell.

This data is also an asset for increasing profitability and improving quality. Quality managers can use real-time data to avert potential problems and team members can have visibility into quality indicators, opening up opportunities for reduced waste and continuous improvement.