Food safety: does a metal detector suffice?

Those who use a metal detector for checking food for foreign objects take the risk of "overlooking" many a threat to product safety. Food producers with the HEUFT eXaminer XB are on the safe side: the new top-down inspector offers a maximum amount of detection reliability and identifies considerably more than just metal contamination.

An end of line system for the specific detection of foreign objects is indispensable when producing and packing food.  Product liability alone demands this.  A food producer is also in a difficult position as regards certification in accordance with the International Food Standard (IFS) if he does not take all the necessary steps in order to prevent contamination of the end product.  Therefore a comprehensive foreign object management is a must - it is one of the KO criteria of the IFS.  A risk analysis is stipulated and the effective preventive measures which are deduced from this.  In many cases the result is that the use of a conventional metal detector does not suffice.  Because glass splinters, pieces of wood, stones or foreign objects made of PTFE and other plastics also often present a threat to the product safety.  In this case an X-ray system which tracks down metal as well as non-metal contamination is the clever alternative.  A new type of top-down inspector is now available for this:  the HEUFT eXaminer XB.


More than just a metal detection


From bars of chocolates and chocolates to cheese and sliced bread, whether loose or in flow packs, thermoform packaging, pouches or composite packages:  the specially developed system continuously monitors the safety and quality of solid food transported on a conveyor.  It inspects up to 1,000 products per minute and not only detects metal contamination but also foreign objects made of other materials.  In addition it is possible to check the completeness and integrity of the products.  The unique, pulsed X-ray measurement of the HEUFT eXaminer XB is only activated when a product is really in the inspection area.  The device only emits one X-ray flash, lasting a thousandth of a second, at a time instead of a continuous beam.  The result:  pin sharp X-ray photographs of the complete product with an extremely low radiation exposure.  Integrated filter and picture evaluation technologies ensure peak values as regards detection accuracy and the amount of false rejections.


Unrestricted detection performance


The HEUFT system is superior to common solutions even when the IFS risk analysis simply requires that metal foreign objects have to be tracked down.  Because the signal released by the product due to the proportion of salt / acid in moisture-containing products does not have a negative effect on the detection performance in any way whatsoever.  Whereas this product effect can restrict the detection reliability of classic metal detectors considerably it cannot affect the performance of the HEUFT eXaminer XB.  Packaging components made of metal such as metal foil hardly restrict the inspection result either.  Unfortunately this is totally different in the case of pure metal detectors:  small foreign objects are frequently not identified under these conditions and at the worst only magnetic steel and not stainless steel can be detected.


HACCP and traceability


The HACCP and traceability KO criteria play a decisive role regarding the IFS certification besides foreign object management.  So-called Critical Control Points (CCPs) such as foreign object detectors thus require continuous monitoring and documenting.  The HEUFT eXaminer XB fulfils these requirements by specifically tracking each product to be examined through the complete device - this rules out the danger of one them not being checked by mistake.  A reject verification ensures that products which have been identified as being faulty are really rejected.  The system checks its own detection performance at regular, freely configurable intervals using special test programs.  Information regarding faulty functions which have been diagnosed in the course of this can be stored in the system as well as detection pictures of the products which have been identified as being faulty.  This important information can be retrieved at any time from the device itself as well as from each office PC connected to the network.  The multilingual HEUFT PILOT graphical user interface with integrated auxiliary tools makes operating the compact foreign object inspector intuitively understandable.  Connection to a production data acquisition system is just as possible as remote service via the HEUFT TeleService.


Comprehensive foreign object management

Those who wish to fulfil the requirements of the International Food Standard and ensure the maximum amount of product safety are on the safe side with the HEUFT eXaminer XB.  It makes a comprehensive foreign object management possible which far exceeds a pure metal detection because it identifies a variety of contamination and provides varied monitoring, documenting and archiving functions regardless of the product or the packaging.