Reduce Metal Detector Testing and Reap the Benefits

Food manufacturers are under significant pressure to increase productivity, reduce food waste, and meet strict food safety standards. Fortunately, recent innovations from METTLER TOLEDO are available to help overcome these challenges. The company’s product inspection division recently released a number of enhancements to its Profile vertical metal detectors, including Reduced Test mode (RT) and Automatic Test System (ATS), which deliver tangible benefits to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

Routine performance monitoring testing is a challenge for food manufacturers

GFSI-based food safety standards and retailer codes of practice require frequent performance monitoring tests to verify that product inspection equipment is working correctly. The frequency can vary depending on the application, and how long product stays on site before it is shipped to its destination. The challenge certain manufacturers face is that every time a test is carried out there can be an impact on productivity and labour costs. Tests often require a stop in production, and multiple operators are required to physically carry out the tests. The higher the frequency of testing the bigger the impact it has on productivity and profitability, and the larger the volume of associated product waste.

How the latest metal detection innovations make routine testing easier

RT and ATS are designed to reduce the frequency of testing required, reduce the time it takes to carry out the tests respectively and improve the accuracy of tests.

RT’s intelligent software continuously checks the performance of the metal detector to ensure it is always working to, or better than, the manufacturer’s specification. RT ensures the metal detector is always functioning correctly, and alerts any status changes that may lead to a drop in performance before the metal detector operates out of specification. One manufacturer used to test every two hours before introducing RT. They have now reduced testing to every 12 hours. They are reaping the benefits of increased productivity and labour efficiencies, as well as reduced product waste.

ATS reduces the time taken to conduct testing from 4 minutes to less than 40 seconds, and its innovative software guarantees centreline sensitivity and eliminates the random nature of Throat metal detector testing by providing a controlled and repeatable process. As well as improving productivity, labour costs are reduced as only one operative now needs to carry out testing. Worker safety is also enhanced due to the reduction of ladder climbs and working at height.

Drivers for change

Mike Bradley, Head of Sales at METTLER TOLEDO’s metal detection business says: “Productivity and OEE are two of the key drivers for our customers, alongside cost reduction. If a business can reduce costs and increase operator efficiency to allow them to carry out more production related functions, rather than test functions, there’s a direct correlation with profitability. Our latest enhancements as a whole deliver cost-down, productivity-up benefits, which aligns with the main business focus of many of our customers.”

More than just productivity benefits

METTLER TOLEDO’s other metal detection innovations include eDrive™ and Emulation. eDrive technology increases the amount of power to the transmit coil of the metal detector, making it easier to detect significantly smaller metal contaminants.

Fitted with eDrive, METTLER TOLEDO’s latest throat metal detectors and gravity fall systems deliver up to 20% increased spherical sensitivity. This translates into significantly improved non-spherical (wire type contamination) detection capabilities enabling detection of lengths of wire up to 50% shorter than previously possible This enhances product quality, reduces the risk of product recalls and improves brand protection.

Emulation uses Virtual Network Computing technology to enable operators to mirror the Human Machine Interface of one or multiple Profile metal detectors onto remote networked devices, including mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

Quality personnel can log in remotely to monitor the current status of their metal detection program, view any setting changes that have been made, and review performance monitoring statistics without having to be directly in front of the metal detector. In its simplest form it can be considered a low cost “shop floor” to “top floor” monitoring process allowing the organization to effectively manage its critical control points.

These latest enhancements – RT, ATS, eDrive and Emulation – deliver significant productivity benefits, enhance product and process quality, increase levels of worker safety and ultimately help manufacturers protect their brand reputation.

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