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M E TA L D E T E C T I O N

What you should know about product testing A product recall can cost a food company millions in direct costs. Brand erosion resulting from negative publicity can cost millions more. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for mitigating risk of foreign object contamination.

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ood companies must ensure the inspection and detection technology under consideration is right for their unique application. It starts with a rigorous product test prior to purchase.

PRODUCT TESTING: WHY IT’S NECESSARY A product test must closely simulate how the product will be inspected on the actual processing line. Product-specific factors such as temperature and packaging configuration must be considered. A testing process should specify performance requirements and ensure they can be met for a specific application. This is true for even the most advanced multi-frequency metal detection technologies, such as the five-frequency multi-scan technology in the Thermo Scientific Sentinel Multiscan Metal Detector range.

A MODEL PRODUCT TEST While no product test can replicate actual conditions, the more rigorous the product test, the better. A comprehensive testing process will consider:

Placement of metal on product packaging prior to conducting a product test

• Product presentation, package size and orientation. These will determine the right aperture size for the application. For the Sentinel metal detector, head size should be just over five centimetres wider and taller than the package. There should be enough clearance for the conveyor bed and any skewing of the package on the belt. • Production factors. Testing should be done with consideration of temperature, pitch and speed based on the actual production environment. As temperature affects the electromagnetic signal given off by products, failing to factor in the unique signal based on the product’s temperature at the time of inspection can compromise detection results. It’s critical to test at the production speed and pitch to understand the total amount of signal in the detector at any time. • Placement of metal. Testing should be performed by placing metal in multiple locations on a package. This should include the centre of the aperture or the weakest detection point as this is the farthest away from the metal detector coils. A thorough assessment should include tests on leading, trailing, absolute centre and sides to ensure metal can be detected anywhere in the package. • Analysis of results. After testing is complete, a formal report should provide detailed results for each tested product, including recommended conveyor speed, frequencies and set-up parameters.

PROBABILITY OF DETECTION Measuring product temperature to match production conditions prior to conducting a product test

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Food Review | January 2019

To help ensure detection of any type, size or shape of metal anywhere inside a package, most

Measuring to ensure product clearance prior to conducting a product test

“The best solution for food safety and brand protection is to use five different userselectable frequencies at a time”

metal detectors use only one to two frequencies. The goal has been to pick the best frequency or frequencies to detect a foreign object. Yet, no single frequency (or even two) can detect all types, sizes and shapes of metal contaminants. The best solution for food safety and brand protection is to use five different userselectable frequencies at a time. A comprehensive product test and a thorough review of the results are integral to selecting a metal detection technology that will meet the requirements of your food safety programme. Technology innovations, such as multiscan metal detection, are designed to deliver unmatched sensitivity and the highest probability of detection. A product test is the best way to discover what your existing technology may be missing and the difference five-frequency multiscan technology can contribute to brand protection and consumer safety. To learn more about product tests, contact an application specialist or request a complimentary product test for your application. •

Thermo Fisher www.thermofisher.com/productinspection

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