Meat, poultry and seafood manufacturers face many pressures on their production lines. Maintaining a hygienic production area, adhering to stringent regulations and standards and maximizing uptime are just some of the key challenges in the industry.

Having a robust metal detection program in place can help relieve some of these pressures. Here we look at the top five challenges that meat, poultry and seafood manufacturers face, and how these can be overcome whilst simultaneously enhancing production line efficiency.

1. Reducing Product Waste

There is always a degree of product waste on food production lines, particularly when rejecting contaminated or non-conforming products. For meat, poultry and seafood manufacturers, food waste can be higher than usual when inspecting for metal contaminants. This is because metal detectors struggle to maintain high sensitivity levels without suffering some level of false triggering. This is particularly common when inspecting chilled, wet or frozen food as the varying moisture and salt content can create a signal similar to metal contaminants – something known as ‘product effect.’
Innovative metal detection systems are now available that use multi-simultaneous frequency and product signal suppression technology to cancel out ‘false’ signals to virtually eliminate the rejection of ‘good’ product.

2. Maximizing Productivity

Production downtime has a big impact in food manufacturing. With high throughout rates and tight schedules, every second counts when a production line stops. Therefore, manufacturing equipment needs to be operating as effectively as possible to ensure minimal downtime.

Intuitive clustering within modern metal detectors reduces set-up time during product changeovers by enabling a wide range of products to be inspected at the same setting. Condition monitoring provides early warning of potential faults so issues can be addressed during planned downtime, rather than incurring unplanned stoppages. On-board OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) reporting documents a metal detector’s availability, reliability and quality as part of the overall production line performance.

3. Complying with Standards

All food manufacturers are governed by strict standards, regulations and legislation to ensure their products are safe and of a high quality. It is important that appropriate product inspection equipment is installed at all critical control points to meet due diligence specifications and uphold quality and safety requirements.
To protect operators during production processes and support safe maintenance practices, Metal detection systems can be provided with shatterproof round-edge guards, safety valves and guarded in-feed and out-feed rollers that remove the risk of finger traps.

4. Maintaining a Hygienic Production Line

Meat, poultry and seafood manufacturers have to meet stringent hygiene standards to ensure both food safety and quality. The risk of biological contamination in facilities that process animal proteins can be reduced by using equipment designed to support demanding hygiene procedures.
Most metal detectors can be designed and constructed for operation in harsh environments and sealed to IP69K standard to meet hygiene requirements. Additionally, conveyorized systems can include open angle-iron frame construction, specialist hygienic feet, ultra-hygienic transport belts supplied with sealed edges and welded joints, and belt lifters to allow cleaning to be carried out quickly and effectively.

5. Protecting Company Reputation and Brand

Food contamination can have disastrous consequences for manufacturers. Not only by putting consumers in danger, but also by the impact this can have on their brand and reputation.
High performing inspection equipment ensures products are free from contamination and remain consistently safe and of a high quality for consumers. The most advanced metal detectors can detect up to 50 percent smaller irregular-shaped metal contaminants than standard metal detectors, giving manufacturers peace of mind that the products their produce are safe for consumers and are of a high quality.

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