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Grimsby-based, family-owned whitefish processor Kirwin Brothers installed Fortress ‘Phantom’ metal detectors to fulfil the production requirements of a new customer.


The company, which is experiencing ever- increasing demand from retailers UK-wide for its range of wet and smoked fish fillets and portions, turned to Fortress Technology to develop a bespoke metal detection inspection unit for a brand new production line. To maintain the best quality and ensure the fish processor continues to meet stringent codes of practice laid out by retailers, Kirwin Brothers went on personal recommendation, opting fora robust system that has a solid reputation for delivering market- leading metal detection performance.


Installed at the end of the new processing line, the bespoke metal detector unit inspects wet fish fillets sold by weight or count in bulk and packed under a covering of ice. “Whenever a product is prepared using a cutting or slicing method, for example fish filleting, there is a potential for contaminants to enter the food chain. The bulk Phantom metal inspection system can detect particles as small as 1.5mm giving processors and consumers peace of mind that foods are contaminant free and fit for consumption,” explains Fortress Managing Director, Sarah Ketchin.


Manufactured in the UK, Phantom metal detectors are built rugged in order to perform within the harshest environments, operating consistently in temperatures as low as -10˚C. Ideal for inspecting raw fish, the IP69K- certified system is fitted with a water resistant epoxy chute. “In the last 12 months sales of Fortress IP69K metal detection systems have increased by 15% – we’ve manufactured and sold over 1000 metal detectors in the last 3 years. As well as complying with HACCP regulatory principals,  processors  must demonstrate a robust production process in order to satisfy food safety audits and retain retailer contracts,” continues Sarah.


To assist the workforce and help protect them from sustaining back injuries, Fortress custom-designed the inspection system to fit on a low-level line rather than standard operating height. This makes it easier for operatives to transport the heavy containers from the conveyor belt to the cold store.


Kirwin Brothers were so impressed by this first installation, just four months later they purchased a second metal detector to help keep pace with the growing volume of supermarket orders for new pre-packed products.


Paul Robinson from Kirwin Brothers comments: “We opted for Fortress metal detectors because the company came highly recommended by one of our suppliers. We were aware its equipment is considered the best in the industry by many food processors. The product and service provided by Fortress was exceptional. Both metal detectors were delivered on schedule and have proved to be robust, reliable and very easy to use. The second metal detector in particular has helped increase the efficiency of our packing operation by eliminating double handling and transferring product between lines.”


Having increased sales by 35% within 12 months, Fortress recently won the prestigious PPMA Exceptional Sales/Company Growth 2014 Award having successfully introduced a new approach and KPI based sales strategy.