Plan Automation Technology Blog

Metal Detection Applications for Your Production Line

Posted by JP Perreault on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 @ 08:04 AM

Metal DetectionMetal detection technology, commonly used in the safety and quality inspections of many products, has found a home in the food and production industry. Due to the technology’s accuracy in finding tramp metal many manufacturers have embraced metal detection in their business. For this efficient and developing technology, the list of its applications in production lines grows with every day.

Broad Range of Uses

Metal detection technology operates so well within production environment primarily to its diversity; that is, the range of applications for this technology. No matter what your production line specializes in, or what kind of line configurations you use, you can almost certainly complete your inspection and quality assurance needs with metal detection technology.

Metal detectors are ideal for inspection of both ‘wet’ (conductive) and ‘dry’ (non-conductive) foods and products, and can even detect elusive stainless steels in which conventional magnets miss. The range of metal detection applications grows as manufacturers learn new and innovative ways to use the technology. Some popular applications of metal detection include: 

  • Vent tube systems for glass and plastic bottles
  • Free-fall slim lines, for bagger and scale applications
  • Tablet press detectors, ideal for tablets and capsules
  • Wash-down conveyor systems for bulk or packaged product inspections
  • Large aperture applications for the plastics and the lumber industry
  • In-process pipeline systems, for slurry and meats
  • Web surface systems for paper and textiles
  • Gravity systems for free-flow dry materials 

It’s due to this wide array of uses and applications that manufacturers across the globe have so readily embraced metal detection technology. Incredibly powerful and accurate in identifying unwanted metals this efficient machinery is now one of the preferred safety inspection technologies.

Variety of Metal Detection Systems

To achieve such a wide array of detection applications, today’s technologically advanced metal detection systems come in a range of configurations and model types; because of this, metal detection technology is compatible with almost any production line structures. Industrial metal detectors come in two ‘umbrella varieties,’ or broad overarching types.

These types are ferrous-in-foil systems, which use magnetism and field manipulation to detect and remove harmful metallic (ferrous) contaminants from products, and balanced coil systems, which use twin coils and electronic fields for general-purpose metal detection applications.

More specific than these metal detector varieties are the production line-specific model configurations, such as:

  • Free-fall/Gravity system detectors: used in free-flowing dry product manufacturing lines (dealing with corn, flour, and similar products). Contaminated products are automatically removed through a rejection gate.
  • Bulk/High Performance system detectors: integrated in production lines dealing with bulk or high mass, high-volume products. These models can effectively scan products weighing up to 100 lbs.
  • Conveyor Line system detectors: used in standard conveyor production lines, and can fit  many belt sizes and configurations. These are the most common metal detectors used in food production.
  • Pipeline system detectors: often integrated with pumped liquid, meat or dairy production lines. Pumped products are scanned as they pass through the equipment, with contaminated products being filtered out through a rejection valve.

The variety of systems metal detection technology is compatible with makes these detectors very easily incorporable with any kind of production operation. Not only that, but many metal detection manufacturers today include customizability options for their machines, optimizing the technology for specific tasks. From custom search head designs with special shielding to custom high current coil structures tailored for specific applications metal detection technology is a flexible and valuable asset to any production line.

Metal Detection and Your Brand

The greatest benefit of metal detection technology in any production line is the peace of mind it can provide to manufacturers; about both the safety of their products and the protection of their brand name. Today’s industrial metal detection technologies are all HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) compliant, adhering to the safety and quality inspection standards set by both HACCP and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) regulations.

The highly advanced user interface built in with many metal detection models provides manufacturers with incredibly accurate and legible scanning results, and streamlines the inspection process significantly. These interfaces automatically record and log all contaminants and products in a comprehensive database, and also capture machine performance and analytics for manufacturers.

What this compliance assures is that the products you manufacture, process and distribute to consumers are of the finest quality possible. This protects you from devastating and embarrassing recalls, which can irreparably damage the brand image you’ve worked so effortlessly to create, as well as protect you from legal action against your production line.

Industrial metal detectors operate with the same or improved accuracy of popular X-ray inspection machines in dry product applications at a fraction of the price. In wet product applications they compliment X ray technology by detecting metal pieces with large flat surface areas (Knife blades, washers etc) in all orientations (Angles) which are difficult for X ray.

Metal detectors and X ray are complementary technologies with the recommendation to use both technologies at various points in a production line.

In addition to these benefits that metal detection technologies can provide, there are also more tangible advantages as well; for instance, the lessened stress on your business budget. Manufacturers can save countless dollars and labor resources typically spent on traditional product inspection, ie tear down and investigate product contact surface areas for wear and tear. The initial investment spent purchasing metal detection equipment is paid back quickly in returns, and the benefits and security it provides for your brand and public image are invaluable.

To learn more about what metal detection technology can do for your business and production line, or what kind of detection technology is best suited for your manufacturing job, download our whitepaper, "A Practical Guide to Metal Detection in the Food Manufacturing Industy" here or contact us today!

Topics: Metal Detection, Product Inspection, Fortress Technology, Metal Detection Technology, Metal Detectors