With the advent of more advanced machinery, the food production process has become incredibly efficient as well as faster than ever. This rise in production speed is good news for you as food manufacturers, but the increased production rate creates an increased risk of producing a contaminated product.
In the food production industry, metal contamination is among the most common challenges to food safety. Whether from machinery or packaging material, food products frequently come into contact with metal fragments. Without metal detection systems on the production line, metal particles can easily contaminate your product and result in expensive wastage.
While food producers should prevent the possibility of contamination wherever possible, a good manufacturing practice includes a metal detection system. To ensure food safety and maintain your customers’ trust, you must utilize food metal detectors in food processing. TDI Packsys provides food inspection and packaging solutions to address these issues.
Types of Metal Contaminants
Generally, metal detectors can sense three types of metal contaminants. The most easily detectable metal types include:
- Ferrous Metal: Because ferrous metals contain iron, they feature strong magnetic and conductive properties, making them easy for metal detectors to find.
- Non-Ferrous Metals: Metals such as aluminum, copper, and lead lack iron, which means they aren’t particularly magnetic. However, despite being non-ferrous, they have electrical properties, which means metal detection systems can readily identify them.
- Stainless Steel: Non-magnetic stainless steels are among the most challenging contaminants for metal detectors to catch. While modern metal detectors can sense any metal particle, stainless steel lacks magnetic and electrical properties like other metals, making it more difficult for metal detection systems to find traces. In addition, moist conditions and high salt content can interfere with the process.
When it comes to physical hazards that aren’t metal fragments, x-ray inspection is often necessary. Contaminants such as calcified bone, ceramic, stone, and glass require an x-ray inspection system, which can work alongside your standard metal detector in the production process.
How Food Metal Detectors Detect Metal Particles in Different Industries
The use of metal detection equipment varies across the food industry, with different raw materials requiring their own metal detection methods. Before adding a metal detection system to your production lines, you must consider a few factors.
First, a hazard analysis and critical control point inspection are essential. Hazard analyses determine the risk of metal contamination and other foreign contaminants when products come into contact with production equipment. Assigning critical control points lets you establish where metal detectors and x-ray inspection systems are most necessary.
Determining how to set your detector settings will depend on product characteristics. A typical metal detector can identify almost any metal contaminant, particularly those in products that feature non-metallic packaging. Standard metal detectors use a transmitter coil to generate an electromagnetic field that quickly senses magnetic metals.
However, metal detection is trickier with contaminants that have no magnetic properties. In these cases, as well as those requiring the detection of other foreign contaminants, an x-ray is the preferred method of examination.
Different Methods of Metal Detection in the Food Industry
Several product types often call for metal detection in food processing. These include but are not limited to:
- Industrial baked goods
Meat and baked goods often pass through a standard metal detector before the products become available to the public. However, spices and liquids require more material-specific means of metal detection.
Because machinery grinds spices down into fine powders, the metal detection process treats spices similarly to liquids and other pumped products. Like x-ray technology, a gravity feed metal detector can identify even the smallest of metal traces in spices by pulling them through a tubular system that thoroughly inspects the product.
Products in metal packaging also pose a challenge to a metal detector. However, our metal detectors from TDI Packsys can inspect products with a variety of packaging materials, including:
- Aluminum foil
- Metal cans
- Other forms of metallic packaging
To do so, manufacturers rely on ourTDI Packsys x-ray systems to do the job. If a traditional metal detector can’t identify foreign matter due to metallic packaging, x-rays can find potential contaminants.
Other Industries That Use a Metal Detector in the Production Process
When we think of metal contaminants, generally, we think of food. However, other industries require a metal detector to ensure the quality and safety of their products.
For example, pharmaceutical companies must also inspect all consumable products for metal traces. Pills and medicine are just as susceptible as food products to metal contamination and must meet strict regulations before manufacturers deem them ready for sale.
Similarly, cosmetic products also go through metal detectors to ensure customer safety. Though most cosmetic products do not need FDA approval, they must meet the law’s guidelines and regulations.
The Best Practices for Proper Use of a Food Metal Detector
Generally, manufacturers will want to establish locations along the production line to place metal detectors and x-ray inspection systems to identify metal particles in both raw and processed materials. Manufacturers can put metal detectors at the end of the line for one final inspection of prepackaged products.
This decision is what makes a hazard analysis so critical. By determining the points in production with the highest risk for contamination, manufacturers can choose the most optimal locations for detection systems for their specific processing needs.
To ensure the longevity of metal detection systems, manufacturers must issue the necessary care and attention for maintenance. Following the cleaning instructions and performing regular maintenance checks are critical for extending the life of your metal detection system of choice.
Doing so can help prevent potential problems, including unnecessary damage to machinery, a drop in production following equipment failure, expenses in wasted product, and the loss of customer trust. Installing state-of-the-art metal detection systems will save your facility money, time, and energy in the long run, making it a worthy investment for your company’s future.
How Manufacturers Across Many Industries Benefit From Metal Detection Systems
From baked goods to meat to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, high-quality metal detectors protect the interests of manufacturers and allow for fast-paced production without the increased risk of contaminated goods.
Whether you need a standard metal detector, x-ray technologies, or another state-of-the-art inspection system, each of these options provides many benefits, including:
- Efficient and accurate detection of metallic contaminants
- Real-time data collection
- Easy operation and maintenance
- Production monitoring
- Increased productivity
- Money saved in the long term due to decreased waste
At TDI Packsys, we understand the importance of accurate contaminant detection. We have served manufacturers in the food industry for many years. Our extensive knowledge and experience allow us to help business owners determine the best contaminant-detection systems for their companies.
We design each of our machines with your needs in mind. Whether you work in the food industry or produce pharmaceuticals, our machines ensure efficiency, increased productivity, and accurate data that you can use to improve your production process. Each detector features a different design and allows for a wide range of functions, making it simple to choose systems that can easily integrate into your process.
Independent companies and corporate giants alike can customize TDI Packsys detectors to their needs. With a dedication to keeping your company running smoothly no matter what it takes, our experts are happy to help you with your hazard analyses and install detection equipment in optimal locations in your facility.
With the help of TDI Packsys’ advanced technology, you can prevent the unfortunate consequences of undetected metallic contaminants and ensure customer safety while protecting your company’s industry authority.
Our team at TDI Packsys is proud to provide high-quality detection equipment solutions to companies across many industries. To learn more about how TDI Packsys can improve your company’s performance, call us at 877-834-6750 or contact us on our website.