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Metal detectors have emerged in the food industry as an alternative to expensive conventional X-Ray Inspection methods and an additional safety precaution. X-ray systems aren’t able to identify a difference in density in free-falling production lines, like bagging systems in nut packaging. Metal detectors are the best solution for detecting metal, but they can’t detect bone, glass, or stone. Based on the manufacturing and needs of the factory, this will determine what system is the most suitable or if both are needed to have a well-rounded and smooth production.

It is necessary in food manufacturing to identify tramp metal contaminants in food goods. Metal detectors can distinguish these harmful elements and provide effective protection against Ferrous (Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Cast Iron, Alloy Steel) and Non-Ferrous metals (Aluminium, Copper, Lead, Nickel, Tin, Titanium, Zinc, as well as Copper Alloys like Brass and Bronze).

It is paramount that dangerous particles are detected as they can cause injury and harm to consumers, affect brand quality, and create product recalls. All these issues can cause a loss of business and funds, which will have a massive negative impact on any company.

 

The Two Different Types of Metal Detectors.

There are several types of metal detectors that work with various detection methods. There are two main techniques utilised by metal detectors, which are the Balanced Coil System and the Magnetic Ferrous-In-Foil System.

The Balanced Coil system is the most popular choice for the purpose of general metal detecting. The system has advanced from tubes and transistor circuits to DSP-based systems (Digital Signal Processors).

Ferrous-in-Foil detection systems detect Ferrous metal and magnetic stainless steel in aluminium packaged products through the use of a full loop Electromagnet.

Both systems are efficient and precise in the metal detection processes involving the inspection of food products. Metal Detectors can also have an automatic reject system that detects contaminants and deposits the rejected product into a separate compartment.

 

How does the metal detection technology work?

 

The Balanced Coil System.

The Balanced Coil Full Loop System is utilised in metal detection by detecting disturbances.

There are three coils wrapped around the space where the product passes through. The transmitter coil is in the centre, which broadcasts a radio frequency signal and generates an Electromagnetic field. Two receiver coils are spaced equally on either side of the transmitter coil.

A disturbance in the Electromagnetic field created by the transmitter coil means that there is a metal contaminant. Any particle that is magnetic or electrically conductive will be detected when entering the metal detector.

The balance will be offset in the metal detector as the contaminant enters and again as it exits. The disturbance from the metal is amplified and analysed by the control electronics. If the sensitivity threshold is exceeded, detection will occur.

 

The Ferrous-in-Foil System.

The Ferrous-in-Foil system in metal detection technology detects magnetic metals in products that have non-ferrous elements and packaging.

This system contains a powerful electromagnet where the detector’s electronics detect magnetised particles because a disturbance is produced. The disturbance is then digitally transmitted to the user interface of the metal detector.

The Ferrous-in-Foil detector identifies Iron, Steel and Magnetic Stainless Steel. Ferrous-In-Foil technology is primarily used in the food industry to detect metal contaminants in foil-wrapped fresh and frozen products.

 

The User Interface of Metal Detection Systems.

A fully integrated User interface is a crucial element for every metal detector system. The user interface is integral as it electronically communicates with the receiving coils. The signals from the coils then get translated into functional data you can interpret.

An interface documents the results of quality control tests, the time & date of detection, the approximate size of the metal contaminant and all detector settings. Another important technology element is proximity sensors connected to an automatic reject device that will confirm the system is working correctly.

User Interfaces have given the power to manufacturers by providing insight into the system statistics, component & signal messages, as well as analytical data. Interfaces have streamlined and enhanced the control of metal detectors while supporting traceability in the horrible event of a recall.

 

Metal detection is Vital in the Food Industry.

The food industry is a massive operation of many moving parts, and systems must be efficient to keep up with the fast pace. Products must be high quality and have no contaminants for a successful business. Implementing metal detection technology in production will provide more safety, data and quality control.

Metal detectors are less expensive than X-ray inspection systems and have a lower cost of ownership. Metal detection technology meets HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) requirements as well.

The ability to detect imperfections and harmful elements in products before they reach the customer is a strong motivation to have this helpful technology in a production line. Avoid reputation-ruining recalls and legal actions from manufacturing products that aren’t safe for consumption.

 

Learn More about Metal Detection in the Food Industry from J-Pak.

For more information, speak to one of our knowledgeable consultants or visit our website at www.jpak.co.za/contact-us. We would love to assist you and your business.

 

#FoodIndustry #MetalDetection #MetalDetector #BalancedCoilSystem #FerrousInFoilSystem #Jpak #FoodProduction

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