Bread is big business in the United States, making up 2.1% of the gross domestic product [i], and accounting for about US$311.0 billion in total economic output.
Poised for continued growth and with the average US household expected to spend around $383.75 per annum by 2021 on baked goods, production and quality inspection speed will be critical to meeting this demand.
As one large European bakery has found, switching from a single conveyor metal detector to a multi-lane, multi-aperture system that allows operatives to run different product batches side-by-side, can boost efficiency and total cost of ownership.
Accurately inspecting 3,600 loaves per hour, Borgesuis Bakery in The Netherlands was one of the first companies to install Fortress Technology’s space saving, multi-lane, multi-aperture metal detector system. Borgesuis opted for a twin lane conveyor, which feeds product in single file through two smaller apertures encased within a single Stealth metal detector.
Before the installation, bakery operatives manually loaded bread loaves onto a conveyor for inspection by a single metal detector. It was a slow, labor-intensive process, causing packing bottlenecks at the factory.
Rather than commission one large metal detector to span two lanes, the company wanted to identify metal contaminants in the individual line and separate rejects. However, installing two metal detectors would have prohibited the bakery from running two conveyors so closely together. Sensitivity was also key – Borgesuis requested a minimum of 1.8 mm ferrous, 2.8 mm non-ferrous and 4.0 mm stainless steel.
Fortress proposed installing a multi-aperture Stealth metal detector, mounted across two conveyor lines. Each aperture measures just 200mm by 450mm and the loaves pass right through the center point, allowing the system to better cope with orientation and product effect. The dedicated aperture for each lane is also more sensitive to smaller metal particles, easily outperforming the required specifications.
To reduce product effect, the bread loaves, which are all baked on the premises, are inspected individually after rotating around the expansive cooling tower and before packaging.
Until now, bakeries and food manufacturers wanting a multi-lane system to inspect items had limited options. Factories could either install a much larger single aperture spanning all lanes, or insert standalone metal detectors between the conveyors. Neither option suited this specific application at the Borgesius bakery, as it would have meant a bulkier machine, multiple systems to maintain and a wider footprint, or compromising on metal detection sensitivity.
To maintain a small footprint, the metal detector was integrated with a new section of conveyor (measuring 1.7m by 5m) that slots alongside the bakery’s existing cooling tower. This bespoke conveyor system splits into two infeed lanes. If the metal detector identifies a contaminated loaf, the conveyor on that lane dips, dropping the bread loaf into an individual lockable BRC-approved reject bin for each lane.
The bakery is now able to inspect different products side-by-side, boosting efficiency and total cost of ownership. Within 12 hours of installation by Dutch manufacturer Jansen Control Systems, the bakery was running at full capacity, accurately inspecting 14,000 loaves per shift.
Plant Manager Mr. Boneschansker from Borgesius comments: “To keep pace with the growing number of supermarket and convenience store orders, and continue meeting the stringent retailer Codes of Practice, we needed an efficient automated inspection process. Our multi-aperture metal detector from Fortress is integral to this effort and has proven reliable and easy to operate.”
SHARPENING FOOD PRODUCTION PRODUCTIVITY GLOBALLY
As well as the Borgesuis bakery, Fortress has successfully installed its multi-aperture innovation in two, four and five lane configurations for several international food processing and packing operations. Applications being inspected include meat burgers, chilled salads, personal care products, and spices. Customers report:
- 40% saving on initial outlay, compared to buying a metal detector for each product line
- Over 65% reduction in total cost of ownership, considering long-term maintenance and parts requirements
- 50% smaller footprint compared to installing a metal detector on each line
- At least 50% reduction in false reject waste, as rejects come from just one conveyor, not the entire line
- Double inspection throughput, if one lane stops working, the others continue to run. Plus factories can inspect different products side-by-side
- Single control panel, enabling production teams to view comparative performance and reject data for each lane.
[i] American Bakers Association