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Processor Protection

Mettler-Toledo Safeline ensures food safety for major cheese manufacturer.
When one of the world’s leading cheese manufacturers searched for technology to help them consistently achieve the industry’s highest product quality, they turned to Tampa, Fla.-based Mettler-Toledo Safeline Inc. To help guarantee food safety, this manufacturer installed a Safeline PowerChekPlus x-ray system on its bulk packaging line and Safeline PowerPhasePlus metal detectors on all twelve of the company’s other cheese manufacturing lines.
“On the bulk packaging line, we hot-fill flavored spreadable cream cheeses into three-pound and five-pound containers,” explains the director of quality for the cheese manufacturer, which was not disclosed due to confidentiality. “The Safeline PowerChekPlus x-ray system is ideal for this application since the nature of the product makes it a challenge for most metal detectors.”
Hot-filled products tend to alter the sensitivity of metal detectors, and condiments made of strawberries or vegetables also tend to reduce the effectiveness of metal detectors. The density, variable consistency and even salinity of flavored cream cheeses packaged in the bulk tubs were problematic for previous detection systems.
But these historical challenges are easily alleviated with the PowerChekPlus x-ray system. Safeline’s new generation of intelligent x-ray inspection systems offers contaminant detection, fill-level control, and package integrity inspection for bulk and packaged products. In addition to detecting ferrous and non-ferrous metal, the PowerChekPlus x-ray system identifies other potential contaminants like bits of bone, stone and glass.
Prior to selecting Safeline’s x-ray system, the cheese manufacturer compared detection sensitivity and dependability. Easy cleanability was also a high priority, as was cost and efficiency. “We did a side-by-side comparison with the Safeline x-ray system and a Safeline competitor to show the customer what they could expect from our x-ray machine,” says Bob Dauphinais, sales representative for Reliant Packaging Systems, which introduced the Safeline x-ray system to this client. “It was clear that Safeline out-performed the other system.”  
Like all Safeline x-ray systems, the PowerChekPlus generates photons from an electrical current.  These photons fan out at the end of an x-ray tube and pass through the product as it travels on a conveyor belt through the machine. Diodes pick up the amount of photons that pass through the product and produce a gray scale of the product based on the cross sectional density. With sophisticated image processing software, the x-ray system then creates a three-dimensional image and analyzes the image for a variety of factors. Products that do not match pre-defined acceptable standards are automatically removed from the production line via a reject device.
With superior image processing technology, simple set-up and use, and an intuitive operator interface, the Safeline x-ray system is easy to use and effective. A high-resolution screen provides a visual reference of the machine’s operation using video images, and clearly displays set up and operational commands and provides real-time diagnostics in full color. Changeover takes only seconds, with an intuitive touch screen pre-programmed to manage multiple-sized packages. Designed for ease of use, Safeline’s innovative auto-learn technology makes set-up automatic and frequent calibration unnecessary. The system automatically analyzes product variations to continuously achieve optimum sensitivity throughout production, which helps eliminate false rejects.
The cheese processor also has Safeline PowerPhasePlus metal detectors on all 12 of its other manufacturing lines. The PowerPhasePlus units have advanced microprocessor technology with digital signal processing to maximize detection sensitivity and minimize false rejects.
“Safeline PowerPhasePlus metal detectors are exactly what we need on our lines that handle bar cheeses and smaller packages,” the customer says.
— Mettler-Toledo Safeline Inc., 6005 Benjamin Road, Tampa, Fla., 33634, phone: (813) 889-9500, fax: (813) 881-0840, Web site: www.mt.com/safelineus