The Ticket to Quality and Safety
Food & Beverages Processing|July 2020
Optimising your metal detection system
Siddharth Kachroo

When dealing with products intended for human consumption, like foods and pharmaceuticals, every care must be taken to ensure that they meet the highest safety standards possible. It is simply not an area where brands can afford to take any risks, or gamble with their reputations.

Due to their impact on consumer health, harm to brand reputation and the financial implications of legal proceedings, even minor quality shortcomings in the production process can be hugely damaging, perhaps irreversibly so for consumer brands. Product recalls are a particularly embarrassing and costly outcome for a producer to endure. The detection of hazardous foreign objects, such as ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals and stainless steels, is hence an area of massive importance.

The latest food and pharmaceutical industry trends show that consumers, whilst attracted by low prices in uncertain financial times, are nonetheless increasingly drawn to product safety and quality re-assurance . It is vital that brands find a cost-effective way to meet these contemporary demands and advanced metal detection systems provide a solution.

A necessary process

“Every company needs to perform a hazard analysis for every product it produces to assess the risk of metal contamination in their products. If the hazard analysis shows there is a risk of metal contamination, then, a metal detector will be required.” British Retail Consortium (BRC) - Global Standard Guidelines

An optimised metal detection programme is not a matter of choice for food and pharmaceutical producers – it is a matter of legal necessity.

To identify and remove contaminated products from the production line, metal detection solutions use either “balanced coil”or “ferrous-in-foil” search heads. Balanced coil heads can detect all types of metal contaminants, including ferrous, nonferrous and stainless steels, in fresh and frozen foods, while ferrous-in-foil heads are used to detect ferrous metals and magnetic stainless steels within fresh or frozen products packed in aluminium foil wrapping. Balanced coil systems are by far the most common metal detectors in use. Systems of this type recognise any trace of metal through a three-coil arrangement that generates a high-frequency field, the voltage of which is disturbed by the presence of any metals in any material passing through it. Products can be inspected in the bulk processing phase or in their finished form, although a combination of the two is most effective.

Producers faced with choosing a metal detection system must sort through numerous parameters that influence which system is ideal to handle the varied potential sources of contamination, so partnering with an experienced supplier is important to guarantee food safety. They must choose a supplier that can tailor solutions to their specific product and application needs, and provide the highest quality equipment and assistance without the burden of unnecessary cost.

Fitting the bill

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