AIMIA Foods, formerly known as Nichols Foods, is one of several UK companies to employ Lock Inspection Systems’ MET 30+ 3f triple frequency metal detector.
Installed at the company's Haydock site in Lancashire, the detector forms part of a twin-head system, comprising a Ferochek and MET 30+ 3f detector mounted on a conveyor.
Such multi-purpose configurations are finding increasing favour with manufacturers, owing to their flexibility and ability to detect in different types of packaging material on the same line.
Lock Inspection Systems says that in the last three years they have seen a steady growth in the number of twin-head systems they are being asked to supply.
There is an overall trend within the food industry towards running several different products on one line, rather than having dedicated lines.
This places greater demands on metal detection equipment, as machines must be able to handle a broader range of products and packaging, yet still meet the ever more exacting sensitivity standards set by retailers.
Aimia Foods produces vending packs of condiments and beverages for supermarkets and vending companies.
Many of its products are supplied in foil-lined packaging to preserve freshness and flavour, for example, drinking chocolate, tea and coffee in individual vending packs or jars with peel-off foil lids.
Lock says that looking for metal in foil packs is challenging as the packaging material emits large product signals, due to its metallic content.
Lock's Ferochek ferrous-in-foil detector overlooks the aluminium foil packaging and detects smaller particles of ferrous metal inside the product, enabling Aimia Foods to achieve due diligence.
The Ferochek is used in conjunction with the MET 30+ 3f, which, unlike other metal detectors, operates at three crystal frequencies - low, medium and high, says Lock.
The detector's automatic frequency selection facility will choose the optimum frequency for the application in hand.
Therefore, when inspecting hot chocolate powder in non-metallised packaging the detector will automatically select high frequency, whereas for vinegar, brown sauce, salad cream or ketchup in metallised film sachets, it will operate at a lower frequency.
Aimia Foods’ twin-head unit will be able to handle any product or packaging.
As a result of the installation, Aimia Foods says the unit is a multi-purpose, future proof line.
The heads can be set for a variety of products and the company is confident that this system will be able to tackle whatever materials are introduced on this line.
Autopac Systems Pty Ltd represents Lock Inspection Systems in Australia.