Metal Detection: Top 3 Considerations For Your Plant’s Needs
Monday, May 31st, 2021
In today’s highly accountable business environment, metal detection systems can no longer be viewed as just a means to remove metallic contamination; they play a far more important role. By Anurag Mitra, Product Marketing Manager-Packaging, tna solutions.
Metal contamination represents one of the most common forms of foreign bodies found in food products. If left undetected, it can become a serious safety hazard for consumers, not to mention the damage it can do to a brand’s reputation and the potential costs incurred from product recalls. But with so many potential origins for metal contaminants, including raw materials, machinery, people, processing and even the environment, how can food manufacturers reduce risk on their production lines?
Implementing specific technologies to detect and reject metal contaminants is the best line of defence. However, not every method is created equal. There are therefore some important criteria for selecting a metal detection system that ensures maximum protection for food and packaging lines.
Here are three key considerations:
1. Optimum Sensitivity
The most important factors affecting metal detection capability include the type of contaminant being detected, the aperture size and the type of packaging material used. Accuracy is therefore key and equipment should be optimised to identify three contaminant types: ferrous, non-ferrous and non-magnetic stainless steel, which is typically the most challenging to detect. The best attainable sensitivities should equally be established in terms of contaminant size and operating frequency.
2. System Positioning
Metal detection systems should be precisely positioned on the production line to pinpoint potential sources and types of contamination as early as possible. Guidelines, such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) methodology, can help food manufacturers plan inspection points throughout the production process, to reduce the cost of rework or waste if required. As an absolute minimum, the end of every production line should be viewed as a CCP.
3. Integration Capabilities
Selecting equipment that maintains high performance operations while keeping up with the rest of the production line is paramount. For this reason, metal detection systems that comprise a fully integrated design are ideal— particularly if they can be operated within any vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) packaging system—providing a single point of operation for added compatibility benefits. This also allows more seamless system audits and maintenance, enabling suppliers to provide expert advice and recommendations on best practice for equipment testing and recalibration, as well as data gathering and trend analysis.
In today’s highly accountable business environment, metal detection systems can no longer be viewed as just a means to remove metallic contamination; they play a far more important role. A comprehensive and effective metal detector can maximise product safety, increase yield, meet retailer standards, ensure regulatory compliance with industry standards and regulations, protect customers’ well-being, and protect the brands of food producers.
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