Technology from Mettler-Toledo Safeline Metal Detection Helps Bakery Manufacturers Rise to OEE Challenge

Coding & Inspection

Manufacturers of bread, cakes, pastries and other baked products can enhance brand protection and boost overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) while also ensuring compliance with food safety regulations with the Profile Advantage metal detector from Mettler-Toledo Safeline Metal Detection. Utilising innovative Multi Simultaneous Frequency (MSF) technology, the detector delivers up to 50 per cent greater detection sensitivity than traditional metal detection technology, thereby ensuring the requirements of standards, such as British Retail Consortium (BRC), International Featured Standard (IFS), the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act and Retailer Codes of Practice are comprehensively met. 

Traditionally, foods with a high moisture or salt content, such as baked goods, or those packaged in metallised film, have proven a challenge for conventional metal detectors, as they produce an ‘active product signal’, commonly referred to as a ‘product effect’. This is where the presence of this signal can reduce a metal detector's ability to detect the very smallest pieces of metal contaminants leading to potentially costly and reputation-damaging product recalls.

However, the Profile Advantage is able to effectively eliminate the active product signal to achieve sensitivity levels previously associated with the inspection of ‘dry’ or non-conductive products. The system’s innovative Product Signal Suppression feature allows the system to modify the product signal during product set-up so that it appears to be similar to that of a non-conductive or dry product, which in turn delivers incredible levels of system sensitivity to all metal types including contaminants such as wires and slithers of metal.

“With rising production costs, combined with growing competition on supermarket shelves, bakery manufacturers are becoming increasingly concerned with finding ways to boost the efficiency of their production lines,” explained Mike Bradley, Head of Sales at Mettler-Toledo Safeline Metal Detection. “Choosing equipment with features designed to optimise OEE can help manufacturers achieve this goal by maximising production uptime and reducing product waste.”

To support the drive to increase OEE, the Profile Advantage employs a sophisticated software algorithm, known as the "3S Algorithm", which is applied to every product that passes through the metal detector, so as to make the active product signal mimic the product signal captured during the auto set-up routine. As a result, incidence of false triggering due to inherent variations in baked products can be virtually eliminated, minimising product waste and therefore boosting manufacturing OEE through an increase in productivity.

Another major development offered by the Profile Advantage is the inclusion of Predictive Analytics. This allows users to dramatically reduce the number of scheduled performance monitoring tests it undertakes by analysing the performance (sensitivity) of the metal detector and producing an alarm should the system identify a change that could result in a reduction in the system sensitivity. A reduction in the frequency of metal detector testing for manufacturers from, for example six times a day to just twice a day, could result in an immediate financial payback through greater productivity and therefore dramatic OEE improvements.

“This is a very exciting and major step forward,” added Mike Bradley, Head of Sales at Mettler-Toledo Safeline Metal Detection. “It’s well documented and understood that metal detectors - and all other inspection equipment for that matter need to be tested for functionality and performance at periodic intervals. However a recent study undertaken by our company has shown that the cost saving to the manufacturer of reducing the amount of testing they undertake can be significant when all production costs are considered.” 

The Profile Advantage conveyorised solution is compliant with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) methodology, featuring hygienic design features of curved corners and sloping surfaces to minimise dirt traps and facilitate quick and easy cleaning. Constructed entirely in stainless steel, the Profile Advantage is available with ingress protection rating, IP65 or IP69K. Supplied with Mettler-Toledo’s PROD X data management system performance monitoring data can be collated automatically and stored centrally, generating reports for due diligence purposes.