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How Detectable is Metal Detectable?

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Did you know that one of biggest threats to any company in the food preparation industry is foreign material entering the production line and ending up in your food in the supermarket, or on your dinner table?

Should this happen, the potential costs to the business are extremely high not only in possible fines but also loss of income through damage to reputation and reliability. More and more companies are implementing extra processes in order to guard against the possibility of a piece of foreign material ending up in the finished product. The introduction of metal detection and x-ray scanners is the last line of defence against foreign bodies ending up in food containers.

The introduction of cleaning products that incorporate a metal detectable additive that can then be detected by metal detection and x-ray scanners, is another tool in the arsenal that food producers can wield in order to protect the public from encountering something other than food in what they buy.

As the last line of defence, it is important that the scanners are accurate and are calibrated according to the product that is being scanned (meat, ready meals, cereals, biscuits, etc.)

However, it is important to note that metal is not the only material that can generate a magnetic field, therefore is not the only thing that can be detected through the scanners. Salt water (saline) is a good example of a product that is a good conductor of electricity. If this passes through the magnetic field of the metal detector, it will create eddy currents and produce a magnetic field of its own. If the saline-rich product was big enough, it could generate a field strong enough to disrupt the metal detector field, just like a piece of metal would.

This is known as 'product effect'. 

Any product scanned has the ability to influence the ability of the metal detector to detect any metal in the product. Factors that could influence the ability include moisture content, temperature and the packaging material, among others.

Hillbrush Total MDX Hygienic tools are fully metal and x-ray detectable, from the filament to the resin, and the plastic body to the thermoplastic rubber. It is however important to note that while additives are refined and detection machinery is improved, you will never be able to detect foreign material in 100% of the items you can for the reasons outlined above, though food producers are getting much better at ensuring they are doing the most they can to avoid any foreign material getting into any product that the public might buy.

Read the full paper and about how metal detectors work here: How Detectable is Metal Detectable? (Quality Paper)

Find out more about the other ways that manufacturers are avoiding foreign object contamination, for example filament loss, and how Hillbrush are combatting this here: Resin-Set DRS





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