Case Study

APPLICATION FOR BACON: Fortress wins support from Bacon business – Interceptor conquers pack size on pork line

After previously utilizing a competing metal detector range, a large pork producer decided to employ Fortress Technology metal detectors throughout their operation to tackle unique inspection hurdles. In order to ensure the safety and quality of their products and accurately inspect several cuts and portions of pork, the manufacturer required a metal detector that could conquer the longstanding challenge of ‘product effect’ caused by moisture and minerals common in conductive meat products.

Following the recent acquisition of new business from a major fast-food chain, the metal detectors were required to achieve more stringent sensitivity specifications when inspecting retail and bulk packages of bacon on two of their production lines. With over 50 Fortress Technology metal detectors already installed in their facility, the producer was familiar with the simplicity, reliability, and performance of Fortress systems. The Interceptor Metal Detector was determined as the most effective solution as it is specifically designed to inspect conductive applications including meat, poultry, and fish, with the ability to satisfy the tight sensitivity guidelines that were required by the fast-food chain.

Four Interceptor Metal Detectors from Fortress Technology were installed in the facility to effectively overcome the product effect the manufacturer was experiencing and eliminate any false rejects while inspecting large volumes of bacon. Yet, they were faced with another challenge.

The problem was that the two bacon processing lines were producing various pack sizes simultaneously and in no specific order. Each 10 and 15 pound package of bacon had a separate sensitivity specification – the 10 lb product required the detection of metals as small as 2.5mm Ferrous, 3.5mm Non-ferrous, and 4.5mm Stainless Steel, while the 15 lb product had a larger threshold for detection at 4.5mm Ferrous, 4.5mm Non-ferrous, and 6.0mm Stainless Steel.

This left the question for the manufacturer on whether the metal detector’s parameters for detection should be set to the stringent 10 lb specification, causing more false rejects and unnecessary product waste when the 15 lb packages were being inspected at the same time. If the metal detector was programmed with the larger 15 lb pack specifications, an opportunity for metal contamination from the 10 lb product would present itself and pose a hazard to consumers.

Working with the producer to find a solution, Fortress Technology installed a vision camera before the metal detector infeed that inspected each 10 lb and 15 lb package. The 15 lb package had a small green label on it that the camera was able to identify and use to differentiate between the different sized packages. The camera’s output then triggered a change in the metal detector’s product settings, allowing it to simply switch between two menus that were individually programmed to achieve the required sensitivity specification for each product. The Interceptor metal detector referred to the 10 lb settings when the smaller packages were inspected, and the larger specifications when the 15 lb product was inspected. This ensured the accurate inspection of every bacon package that was conveyed through the metal detector, eliminating false rejects and drastically minimizing costly product waste.

Every application is different and presents new challenges that require innovative solutions. The Fortress Technology team is dedicated to working with our customers to overcome obstacles they may face in their inspection programs to achieve food safety. In this case, Fortress Technology gained the support of the pork producer who continues to employ Interceptor metal detectors in their facility.