Press release -
Loma Systems Develops New Safety Solution To Recent Food Production Trends
Food Online: In what way have current production trends most affected food manufacturers?
Martin Lymn: With consumer demand for a varied diet on the increase and eating habits constantly changing, food manufacturers are being forced to increase their range of food products to both maximise profits and increase consumer satisfaction. This has led to the need for food inspection systems that are capable of adapting to different products, packages and sizes. The most challenging question that has arisen from this for food producers is how to decide what operating frequency to set their metal detectors at in order to achieve optimum levels of inspection sensitivity for every product they handle. ‘Product effect’ complicates this further- if the product signal is too large it can overwhelm the metal detector electronics and make compensating for the effect difficult so potentially degrading the metal detector performance.
Food Online: What step have Loma Systems taken to overcome this challenge?
Martin Lymn: As a company we are committed to consistently develop and expand our range of machines and the latest technology. We have recently set an industry benchmark with the launch of the IQ3+ Variable Frequency Metal Detector, which allows for virtually any frequency across an extensive range (from 31 KHZ top 882KHZ). The system can be configured so the metal detector automatically picks the frequency for each product during the product ‘learn’ or ‘calibration’ and has significant data space to store the frequency details of up to 200 different products. This significantly reduces product wastage and recall costs.
Food Online: How does the Loma IQ3+ Variable Frequency compare with other available options on the market?
Martin Lymn: The only other comparable systems on the market use ‘multi frequency’ technology, which allows the operator to choose between two or three pre-set frequencies for a small number of different products. This technology forces the producer to estimate a suitable, compromised frequency for a multitude of products that is not always satisfactory...the sensitivity levels of metal detection for any one product can never be optimum. Furthermore making frequency changes to these units currently means considerable downtime for the machine as the process is complicated, time consuming and costly.
Food Online: What are the main benefits of a Variable Frequency system?
Martin Lymn: Variable Frequency allows for a greatly increased flexibility in the use and location of the metal detector. The ability to define an optimum frequency for each product instead of a single frequency offers greater flexibility and security, allowing food manufacturers to futureproof their inspection systems.
Food Online: Why is it currently so important for food inspection systems to offer such high levels of sensitivity?
Martin Lymn: Whilst the control of metal contamination has been practised by conscientious food producers for many years, never before has the application of quality control inspection been practised to such high standards. This demand for the high quality of food has been instigated by the main supermarkets, club-stores and fast food chains who have each drafted their own ‘code of practice for the prevention of metal contamination in food production’ which have been issued to all of their suppliers of food products. These quality control practices are now verified by independent inspectors for agencies such as the European Food Safety Inspection Service (EFSIS), British Retail Consortium (BRC), USDA and Safe Quality Food (SQF) among others.
Food Online: How does Loma’s IQ3+ Variable Frequency Metal Detector help the major food packagers in their strive for stringent quality Control?
Martin Lymn The machine comes standard with the Loma Performance Validation System (PVS), which aids Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), – the recognised and systematic preventative approach to food safety- compliance. Loma have made reports back to the major producers and compliance with HACCP as simple as possible for the operators of the metal detector, with our icon driven touch screen and user-friendly controls. Enhanced by our Loma eNet data capture technology, vital data is acquired and archived from quality assurance checks, which involve quality control staff checking sensitivity levels with samples of ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel metals. The verification is controlled by the metal detector recognising and confirming that the metal test samples employed are of the correct metal type, dimension and electromagnetic conductivity as required for the actual product being inspected.
Food Online: Have you had a positive response from your customers over Variable Frequency?
Martin Lymn: All of our customers have been extremely pleased with the proven benefits gained from Variable Frequency. Our research has shown that Variable Frequency improves factory efficiency and significantly reduces production costs. Furthermore, the flexibility of the machine allows it to cope with a variety of products meaning the processor need only buy one machine rather than several different inspection machines. This inevitably saves on costs, factory space and time for manufacturers.
Food Online: Does a specific installation stand out for you?
Martin Lymn: We recently installed a variable frequency IQ3+ Metal Detector for Anthony Rowcliffe and Son LTD who are one of the most established cheese and speciality food suppliers in UK. They required a technologically advanced inspection system for their new range of eleven artisan cheeses for Marks and Spencer’s.
Food Online: Why did Anthony Rowcliffe require a Metal Detector?
Martin Lymn: The Anthony Rowcliffe sites operate five-day weeks with a same day delivery policy to a variety of major supermarkets, selling to diverse markets including delis, farm-shops, butchers and the premium multiples. Their demanding production schedules require them to meet tight schedules and they were looking for a reliable and accurate system to support this. As part of the company’s high quality standards drive they inspect every product meticulously prior to despatch, so the next generation IQ3+ Metal Detector from Loma Systems was an obvious solution for the company.
Food Online: What were the main challenges Loma were required to overcome throughout the installation?
Martin Lymn: All of Anthony Rowcliffe cheeses are individually hand-cut with wire, so it was vital that Loma provided a machine that was sensitive enough to identify the smallest metal shard contaminants. The company despatches and inspects products in trays so Loma specified a carriage track reject conveyor, designed to push reject trays down a separate conveyor system to ensure the trays containing contaminated products are kept separate from trays that have been inspected and are found to be safe. Anthony Rowcliffe uses an RFID tracking system to ensure their products are tracked throughout the delivery process to guarantee they arrive at specific locations through their identifiable metal tags. These metal RFID tags can cause significant problems when going through other brands of metal detector, as the tags give off a signal which is often misinterpreted as a metal contaminant, causing false rejects and unnecessary costs.
Food Online: Did the Loma IQ3+ Variable Frequency Metal Detector make complying with any industry standards or regulations easier for Anthony Rowcliffe?
Martin Lymn: Anthony Rowcliffe uses RFID tracking which complies with industry standards. Loma’s Variable Frequency allows the machine to learn the signal given off by the metal tags and then eliminate that signal to only find contaminates that are in the products again saving on down time and drastically reducing the number of false rejects.
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World leaders in designing, supplying and installing metal detection systems, Checkweighers and X-ray Inspection equipment to the Food and Pharmaceutical industries.
- Food industry
- food safety
- metal detector
- metal detection
- x ray inspection
- food industry
- food processing
- food processing equipment
- foreign bodies
Loma Systems are World leaders in designing, supplying and installing metal detection systems, Checkweighers and X-ray Inspection equipment to the Food and Pharmaceutical industries.