Case Study – Filling in a Hazardous Area

Traceable Filling and Reporting  – Compliant from Start to Finish

An Indian pharmaceutical company needed to secure safe data printing from scales in hazardous filling areas. hazardous fillingThis company produces and sells raw materials, intermediates, and APIs for anti-infectives and other therapies. Its processes includes the handling of potentially explosive materials. Workers prepare those substances for shipment in hazardous areas classified as ATEX Zone 1/21 and Zone 2/22.

Inefficient manual documentation

In the company’s old system, operators were required to record the weight of each outgoing container before shipping. All records were completed by hand, due to the nature of the hazardous-area. The handwritten logs then had to be entered at the end of each shift. This process not only was a time-ineffective, but also involved strong possibilities of human error.

A complex process

Three rooms were needed for the process. In room 1, classified Zone 2/22, empty containers were weighed and placed on a conveyor belt. The belt then moved the containers to room 2, a Zone 1/21 hazardous area, where they were filled to a 20 kilogram capacity. Finally, filled containers are conveyed to room 3, another Zone 2/22 area where they were weighed again. A more cost effective means of electronic record keeping was needed.

Integrated documentation

The solution, which involved report generation directly from intrinsically-safe scales, came from METTLER TOLEDO India representative Deepak Pal. While the three-room process remains unchanged, the new equipment configuration for the fill line (Figure 1) includes:

  • A PBA430 platform with a 30 kilogram capacity and an IND560 weighing terminal are installed in room 1, where the attending operator tares empty containers.
  • The scale is connected to an IND780 weighing terminal with another PBA430 weighing platform in room 3 via RS485 cabling. Here, after the automatic filling in room 2, the attending operator obtains and accepts the net weight.
  • Data from both scales is stored in the IND780 terminal.
  • Printouts are generated in a nearby safe area via an Epson printer connected via RS232 cabling.

hazardous filling


Easy customization

While both the IND560 and the IND780 provide a high degree of programming flexibility on their own, TaskExpert™ has been an important factor in the success of the new system. As a graphical programming environment, TaskExpert made it easy for the company to customize its application. Operators created special user interface features to simplify interactions with terminal functions and more intuitively manage databases – all without learning special programming languages.

Safe and compliant processing

With the intrinsically safe nature of the new set-up, the operation adheres to hazardous-area standards, keeping workers safe. With the new scales and reporting capabilities, the operation also maintains airtight traceability. All product details, batch numbers, processing date/time and tare/gross weight are cataloged for internal quality control and client record keeping. A consultative service approach with Pal and other METTLER TOLEDO representatives working alongside the company’s process experts has helped ensure that management has a solution they feel confident about. In addition, the company is saving two man hours per day on operations plus the added savings from eliminated operating and documentation errors. “Company management was able to secure the budget, and the equipment they chose will provide returns many times over in the coming years,” Pal says.

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IND570XX – Replaces the IND560xx in 2017