Confectioners target of metal contaminant tooling upgrade

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Candy bar

Increasing demand from retailers for rigorous quality control from suppliers was one of the drivers behind the enhancement of the sensitivity and early warning system of a throat metal detection system aimed at confectionery and snack food production.

Neil Giles, marketing manager at Mettler Toledo Safeline said the supplier’s new Super Throat (ST) series for vertical packaging applications was informed by the need of its leading confectionery and snack maker client base for high sensitivity inspection tooling to ensure the elimination of small metal contaminants such stainless​steel shavings or wire fragments.

The ST series is based on Zero Metal Free Zone technology and allows the metal detector to be installed in the confined space between the outlet of a multi-head weigher and the inlet to the VFFS bag making operation.

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews.com, Giles said that the new ST series arose, in fact, out of a pilot project that was initiated a year ago with German producer Bahlsen.

“Despite all the recent developments in metal detection, sugary confectionery makers and crisp or snack producers are still recording the occasional small erroneous metal pieces in their sealed packs and sought a system that would improve current screening of free-fall products before the final bagging stage,”​ he said.

He explained that the development work undertaken for the Hanover based chocolate and biscuit maker involved the redesign of the coil system and detector head geometry in a throat detector unit along with changes to the software algorithm so it could discriminate between the signals from the metal contaminant and those generated by the product itself.

The redesign performed extremely well for Bahlsen, said Giles, with existing detection levels improved by a factor of two.

According to Giles, another advantage of the ST metal detection series is its condition monitoring system, which aids maintenance planning by giving a engineer advance communication, either by email or SMS, of whether there is any operational deviation from the norm such as a drift in settings.

In highly automated processes, said the supplier, there are fewer operators working on the line and an increased risk that these occurrences could go unreported for considerable periods of time with the potential for an extremely costly outcome.

Giles stressed that the permanent monitoring that the ST allows of the metal detector’s functionality and performance levels means a potential problem can be flagged up before the fault actually occurs, and thus providing the engineer with a window of opportunity to conduct investigations and plan rectification work for off line periods.

“And we are now ready to let the ST series loose on the wider marketplace.

With 10,000 existing throat metal detector installations worldwide, we envisage that confectioners or snack makers will avail of the upgraded equipment through our replacement programme or purchase the new machinery outright for new lines, with new plant investment projects definitely underway again,” ​added the marketing manager.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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