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September 13, 2022


Fortress Technology’s new Raptor inspection and check weighing series is assisting Irish start-up company Soothing Solutions to provide total compliance peace of mind. For Sinéad Crowther and COO Denise Lauaki, co-founders of the innovative natural remedy firm, commissioning the installation of the award-winning Raptor Combination Metal Detector and Checkweigher has helped to ensure full product integrity from day one of production.

With global ambitions for the company’s new non-choke Tonstix concept – which launched to the Irish market in Spring 2022 – product safety is paramount. Dissolvable honey jelly pops, emulating the benefits of a hard-throat lozenge, was designed by the creators of Soothing Solutions to appeal to young children aged two years and up and comfort irritable throats. The jelly slowly dissolves to create a coating that temporarily suppresses distress.  Made only using natural ingredients, the Tonstix product also features Zinc and Vitamin C to support children’s immune function.

Another safety feature of the throat lubricating product is the medical grade ‘stick person’ shaped stick. Made of moulded plastic and recyclable once the child has finished with it, the Medrol-style delivery device is certified in Ireland, the UK, EU and the USA. Supplied with face stickers, they create a playful element in keeping with the Soothing Solutions ethos.

No safety shortcuts

The first hygienically flow-wrapped packages of Tonstix rolled off the production line in Co.Louth, Ireland in March 2022. Available on Irish pharmacy shelves nationwide, every single product pack is inspected for metal contaminants and checkweighed by the company’s new Fortress Raptor Combination system, ensuring full HACCP and retailer COP compliance.

With two billion children under the age of 14 in the world, the market potential for Tonstix is vast, notes Sinéad. The team already has ambitious plans to collaborate with multinational pharma companies, confident that their concept and certified dosage delivery stick system will have widespread appeal.

Mindful of these big plans, the co-founders intentionally selected an inspection system that would complement their production growth trajectory.

The Fortress Raptor Combination Metal Detector and Checkweigher fulfilled this brief the minute it was unpacked. “In all my wildest dreams I never envisaged getting excited about a metal detector,” states Sinéad. Considering the end user at every stage – the child – the Fortress inspection machine needed to provide the assurance of zero contaminations that could cause harm to a child. In Sinéad’s words: “No safety shortcuts were taken.”

Seamless solution

The co-founder expands: “The Raptor Combination system went in seamlessly. It’s very user friendly. Frankly, it is the smartest piece of kit on our line. Nothing feels bolted together. The screen collates all the production data we need. It ensures full weighing accuracy, extremely sensitive metal contaminant detection levels, full traceability and exceeds all of our COP compliance requirements.”

As a start-up, Sinéad readily admits to having no previous knowledge or expectations of a contaminant inspection system. The team particularly values the screen size and being able to pull the most important parameters to the foreground. “How this Raptor unit is programmed to factor in the weight of packaging and the stick to ensure that retailers are getting precisely 8 grams of honey jelly pop is so critical for brand assurance. Same for the sensitivity of the metal detector and its ability to identify the tiniest fragments of metal. It gives us the ultimate peace of mind.”

Fully integrated with the company’s flow wrap machine, an operative manually loads five Tonstix per pack and slides the packs straight into the Raptor for inspection. At the other end, each box is packed onto pallets. The production rectangle flows seamlessly. COO Denise verifies: “When we give a supplier a brief the hope is that they get it straight off. This machine was engineered to our exact specifications and went in without a hitch.”

As Soothing Solutions scales up and enters new territories, the Raptor Combination machine automatically fulfils all the regulatory and bureaucracy requirements, adds Sinéad. The only factor that may need to be considered is the aperture size of the machine.  “Larger boxes may require a larger machine. Yet I have complete confidence that with Fortress in our brand protection corner, everything is feasible. I will have no hesitation ordering more Raptor systems when the time comes.”

A high performance system and a competitive price point, the Raptor Combination unit, which is now available throughout North America, is capable of inspecting up to 150ppm, in pack formats of up to 8kg and measuring 300mm by 400mm. Digital signal processing, built-in data capture, remote access and single pass product learning is integrated into the inline system.

Also available in the range is the Raptor Checkweigher and Raptor XL Caseweigher. Operating as a standalone product feed and packing weighing units, the modular electronics suite allows for full upstream and downstream integration into existing product lines. Every machine is supplied with Fortress Technology’s highly valued Never Obsolete guarantee.