Playing it safe
Petfood manufacturing processes to keep your product's integrity intact
Stringent petfood, pet treat and feed safety standards are placing escalating demands on petfood producers for high levels of contaminant detection and inspection capability. "We are protecting our equipment, protecting our brand and, most importantly, protecting our customers' brands," explains Jeff Bedrick, IT manager at Channel Fish Co.
In the past, basic metal detectors met that need. Now X-ray detection is allowing for even more capability and sensitivity. If you can save time and energy while maintaining a secure, sterile processing line, not only are you on the right track as a business, but consumer confidence in your product will skyrocket-and who doesn't want that?
Safety you can see
Thermo Scientific POWERx systems feature state-of-the-art X-ray design and image analysis software that optimizes sensitivity and probability of detection. A wide range of models for upright and horizontal package orientations are available, providing application flexibility from a single vendor with years of X-ray experience, according to the company. POWERx products are backed by Thermo Fisher Scientific's global service organization. Comprehensive service capabilities include a standard remote access feature allowing certified Thermo technicians to connect offsite to your POWERx and optimize performance at any time.
According to Thermo Scientific, the advantages of X-ray inspection include:
- Easily complies with your customer inspection mandates and/or government regulations;
- Detects more than just metalfinds other dense foreign objects such as glass, stone and some plastics;
- Improves your detection sensitivity where metallic packagingcanned for wet foodsimpacts the performance of metal detectors;
- Verifies assembly of your product (e.g., presence/absence, counting, breakage, placement), guaranteeing the highest level and a superior brand;
- Uses mass measurement software (optional) to maintain ideal product weight; and
- Creates and saves detailed records for traceability and process improvement, including information-rich images of rejected products.
Case study: Channel Fish utilizes Safeline
Channel Fish Co. processes fish destined for major cat food canneries. Producing to the highest quality standards, Channel Fish relies on a PowerPhasePRO metal detector from Mettler-Toledo Safeline to ensure the safety of the fish product they process every day.
"We're looking to get every piece of metal out that we can. We have zero tolerance," noted Bedrick of Channel Fish. "We won't ship product that hasn't gone through the metal detector. If the metal detector goes down, we'll stop the line."
Before installing the new Safeline metal detector in May 2008, the metal detector in use at Channel Fish was problematic, according to the company. Channel Fish had to rely almost entirely on the magnets at the end of the line to assure it was shipping metal-free product, and this system just didn't cut it.
"We judge how well the metal detector is working by what's on the magnets. We used to find much more on the magnets-now we barely find anything," said Bedrick.
The power of PRO
To maximize detection sensitivity, the PowerPhasePRO features high frequency coil technology and advanced head geometry that zero in on all types of metal contamination, from common ferrous and non-ferrous tramp metal to the most difficult to detect stainless steel fragments. To virtually eliminate false rejects, a faraday screen, located between the detector coil system and the product being inspected, filters out signals that can interfere.
"This is the worst environment you can imagine for a metal detector," Bedrick said. "Our product is wet and very salty. The room is humid and cold during operation, and humid and hot during the sanitation shift. We think moisture was one of the biggest problems we had with our old metal detector. Knowing the system can withstand our high pressure, hot water wash down is really important.
"We measure the success of the metal detector based on detection sensitivity and reliability," concluded Bedrick. "We're confident that we're shipping metal-free product. And our maintenance guy hasn't had to touch the Safeline metal detector since we installed it."