Tampered packaging remains a key issue for confectioners, and manufacturers must establish maximum precautions along the production line to ensure no contaminated products make their way to the supermarket shelves.
Wiese Förderelemente, which provides pendulum bucket conveyors used by the confectionery industry, has developed a magnetic polypropylene material that is approved for contact with foodstuffs.
Conveyor buckets, which can also reduce the risk of product degradation, are used in elevators to transport materials in the production line.
The elevators themselves are used to convey products such as powders, granules and bulk material, even delicate foodstuffs, vertically and horizontally from one or multiple feed points to one or multiple discharge points.
In the past, coloured plastics were used as a partial solution to the problem of unwanted foreign objects, caused by fragmented buckets, ending up in the finished food product.
5mm pieces detected in finished product
According to the Burgwedel-based firm, a recent six-month trial at a German confectionery manufacturer tested the detectability of its new bucket material.
As part of the trial, small pieces of elevator bucket, each no larger than 5mm, were placed inside packages of the finished product.
"All the packaged products that had been tampered with were identified by the magnet detector and thrown out," said the engineering firm.
Hygiene focus for pendulum-bucket conveyors
In a separate development, confirmed Wiese Förderelemente at the recent ProSweets trade fair in Cologne, Germany, it has designed a casing that "enables even more hygienic operation in the food industry."
Instead of a closed sheet-metal casing, the firm has developed a framework made of welded sections.
"There are no unused corners, nor can a product collect in any nooks or crannies," asserted the pendulum bucket supplier.
The firm added that the framework can be easily accessed and can either be closed with transparent polycarbonate or sheet-metal coverings, "easily removed for quick and easy cleaning."