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Metal Detectors Ensure Product Quality for Pet Food Maker

May 1, 2016  

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Despite a recession, the pet industry has seen continued growth in recent years as more people seek premium pet foods, luxury products and medical care for their pets.

With such an upbeat industry forecast, the management team at a major pet food manufacturer continually looks for ways to upgrade its processing equipment. This manufacturer of pre-processed pet food has a 40,000 square foot facility that mainly produces chicken slurry used for their customer lines of dog and cat foods.

The company produces 80,000 – 100,000 pounds of slurry each day at their plant. The slurry is processed from chicken carcasses that the company purchases from various suppliers.

The company’s high grade dog and cat food, free of contaminants, begins at the facility, which now includes an Eriez Xtreme® Standard Metal Detector along with an Eriez Xtreme® Liquid Line Metal Detector. The equipment detects any metallic particulates that otherwise could end up in final packaging.

“It was a good business practice to install the Xtreme Metal Detectors,” a company representative recalls. “We figured we could stop a problem before anything happened. The Eriez detectors have the ability to pick up very fine pieces of metal and they are incredibly accurate. It really helps us improve our quality of product.”
Positioning the metal detectors for optimum use

Chicken carcasses that arrive at the plant are first conveyed through an Xtreme Standard Metal Detector which features a 34″ wide x 8″ high aperture opening. This initial process helps detect and reject any stray bolts or larger pieces of metal before the carcasses are conveyed into a series of grinders.

The Xtreme Liquid Line Metal Detector acts as the “final defense” after the carcasses pass through the grinders and are churned into slurry. The metal detector has a 5-1/2″ square aperture opening plus a 4″ diameter Kynar pipe with Tri-Clover ends.

“We don’t want any metal shavings that come off the grinders to get into the product, so the Eriez Metal Detector was installed to make sure nothing is contaminated,” he says. “The metal detector has an automatic discharge valve, so any metal found drops into a container for easy disposal.”

Food processors use the detector to detect the presence of ferrous, nonferrous and stainless steel contaminants in viscous products, such as the chicken slurry. When metal is detected in the product flow, a reject signal is channeled to one of the available output relays. The output relay can be used to activate a ball valve, control a visual or audio alarm, or send a signal to a PLC. Complete systems from Eriez can be provided in pipe sizes ranging from 1″ (25 mm) to 6″ (150 mm) diameters.

The company’s maintenance staff was able to install both metal detectors with minimal downtime along the rest of the processing line. The company worked closely with an Eriez Representative for the initial set-up, product testing and final calibrations before going online.

“As soon as the Xtreme detectors were powered on, they worked perfectly,” says the company representative. “There was really no adjusting needed after that. The training we received was very satisfactory and the touch-screen menus are easy to get around. They have been trouble-free since we installed them last year. We could probably triple the output (of slurry) and the metal detectors could still handle the load with no problem.”