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New front end for Fortress food industry metal detectors

By Lynda Searby , 17-Aug-2011

Fortress Technology Europe has designed a new ‘front end’ for its Phantom metal detectors, giving users a more robust control panel along with the option of plugging a USB stick directly into the machine for data capture purposes.

Sarah Ketchin, Fortress Technology Europe’s managing director, told she expects this USB functionality will be of particular interest to smaller food companies.

“For a lot of smaller businesses the ability to capture data on USB sticks is going to be a big advantage, because while we offer a data capture software package that will fit in with any other network with ethernet wiring, quite a lot of factories don’t have all that wiring in place; if they’ve only got a couple of detectors, they simply don’t see the cost benefit in running all the cabling. If an operator can just plug in a USB stick, download all the statistics they need, then return to their desk and plug it into an excel spreadsheet, that’s far easier for them.”

In terms of the type of data food companies might want to capture, Ketchin said it could range from details of when the machines were tested and what the test results were, to when a contaminant was found and how big that contaminant was.

Besides the USB facility, the new Stealth interface features a control panel made from Lexan, a polycarbonate material that Ketchin claims is very resistant to impact.

“We used Lexan because it is able to stand up to the general abuse that factory equipment is often subjected to. It is ideal for wipe down environments like bakery, confectionery, snack and cereal factories, where it’s more important for materials to be able to withstand damage than heavy washdown.”

Other features include an improved menu structure and an angled screen for easier visibility.

All elements of the Stealth user interface can be retrofitted to older models in the Phantom metal detector range. The Lexan control panel will be standard across all Fortress metal detectors that do not require full washdown capabilities, while the USB function will be available as an option.

“If companies have a metal detector they bought a decade ago, and they want to add the USB function or some of the new menus and software features, they can,” said Ketchin.

In addition to the Stealth, and in the same Lexan construction, is the Fortress Icon, which was launched at the end of last year. Unlike Stealth, which has a traditional keypad and two-line display, Icon provides a large touchscreen interface, which is said to use graphics, icons and comprehensive menus to enable users of all skill levels to set up products, perform tests and produce reports.

Ketchin hinted that further new product launches are in the pipeline, including a new throat detector for the snacks industry

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