Gravimetric dosing systems and industrial scales for the pharmaceutical, food, and chemical industries form the core of Alba's portfolio. Committed to the highest quality standards, Alba has been using SysTec weighing indicators for many years. The family-owned company is SysTec's valued partner in Slovenia.
In the following interview, Alba's CEO, Nataša Kračun, gives an insight into micro dosing systems and describes the partnership with SysTec.
Nataša, could you please briefly introduce your company Alba?
Founded in 1985 by my father, Alba began as a company specializing in servicing laboratory and industrial scales. We gradually expanded our business to custom-made production of industrial scales and provided accredited calibrations and verifications of mass, pressure, force, volume, flow, and temperature.
In 2017, we developed our batch dosing system for powder. This rather spontaneous decision emerged when a customer asked us to produce a small ATEX certified system that could dose up to 2 g with 1 % accuracy. Since then, we have developed a range of micro and milli dosing systems, mainly for free-flowing powders, spanning dosing ranges from 50 mg to 200 g.
Although weighing has always been the core of our business, we are proud of our journey from scale servicing to developing high-precision dosing solutions, while remaining totally committed to customer satisfaction.
What are Alba’s main application areas for micro dosing?
When talking about our micro dosing systems, we refer to systems with dosing ranges from 50 to 1000 mg and 0.1 to 2 g. Intended for high-precision dosing of free-flowing powders, they are used mostly in R&D laboratories and small-batch productions across different industries where precision is essential for the quality of the final product.
One specific field of application is insect breeding, where our systems are used to dose freshly hatched black soldier fly larvae.
We’re very passionate about finding solutions and improving the technology to guarantee the best outcomes: accuracy and repeatability are crucial, regardless of the type of powder.
What customer benefits do your micro dosing systems offer to your customers?
Most of our dosing systems are custom-made for specific powders. Since we manufacture most parts of the system ourselves, except for the load cell and the weighing indicator, we are flexible enough to meet specific requirements in terms of design and integration.
Micro-dosing systems are centered around the accuracy and repeatability of the dosing results. In addition, our customers find it beneficial that the systems are easy to use and designed in a way that allows effortless dismantling for cleaning purposes. For example, the tipping cup can be easily pulled out, cleaned, and reinserted. We recently simplified the attachment of the feeding tray so that it can be dismantled without using any tools.
What are typical processes in micro dosing and weighing applications?
Typical processes are sample preparation, product development, and small batch production.
What are the challenges of micro dosing in hazardous ATEX areas?
The main challenge, in our view, is the need to ensure high precision in dosing while complying with safety regulations. Our key advantage is that we manufacture critical components, such as the resonator for the vibratory feeder and the actuator for the tipping cup. This autonomy affords us flexibility in adapting our dosing systems to ATEX environments, enabling us to deliver solutions that prioritize both safety and precision.
Which SysTec weighing electronics do you use, and why? What are the benefits?
We use IT6000E and IT8000E weighing indicators for dosing systems and scales with customer-specific applications. Their programmability allows us to adapt to unique requirements seamlessly.
For standard industrial and truck scales, IT3 is our preferred choice. Its reliability and precision meet the demands of everyday weighing tasks. Meanwhile, our unattended truck weighing systems are based on IT2000M.
The key advantages of SysTec's weighing electronics are ease of operation, robust construction, and high operational security. The user-friendly interfaces of IT6000E and IT8000E simplify day-to-day usage, while the robust design of all models ensures longevity and resilience in diverse working environments.
When did you start your partnership with SysTec – and what are your experiences?
Our partnership with SysTec began in 2010, and it played a key role in elevating the overall quality of our products. SysTec’s range of freely programmable indicators is a perfect fit for our custom-made projects.
However, what we truly value the most, apart from the high quality of their products, is their excellent technical support. Our experience has been great so far, and we look forward to continuing and strengthening this partnership in the future.
From your point of view – what are the opportunities and challenges of the weighing industry in the future?
The weighing industry will explore opportunities to innovate with new technologies like AI, making systems even more accurate and faster. However, challenges include meeting stricter regulations and balancing new tech and reliability.
On the other hand, the past few years, disrupted by the pandemic, have exposed challenges in supply chains, creating shortages and delays. We’ll all have to work towards rethinking and reshaping supply chain resilience to withstand future setbacks better.