Food Engineering

Metal detector keeps fruits and veggies safe

October 1, 2009



Crewmint uses S+S Inspection’s Varicon-D metal detector to find any possible metallic contamination in its small packs line.


Crewmint Limited was founded in 1997 as a processor of fresh fruit and vegetables and is now a leading supplier to commercial food producers and catering companies in the UK and Ireland. Products range from bulk prepared fresh fruit and vegetables for the food industry to citrus fruit for candied peel used to decorate cakes and for preserves and marmalade.

According to Technical Manager Sue Evans, the key to Crewmint’s success is its focus on quality and reliability of both the end product and delivery. With many food processors working on a just-in-time basis, the production process must be flexible to respond rapidly to customer orders that can vary considerably from day to day.

In addition to a skilled and flexible workforce, Crewmint has invested heavily in product development and production equipment. The latest product innovation, small bags of prepared fresh fruit targeted at expanding the company’s penetration in the vending machine, health service and education markets, required an investment of $160,000 in new machinery.

Even the slightest risk of metallic contamination is totally unacceptable. Therefore, the new machinery included end-of-line metal detection equipment from S+S Inspection for both the small pack and bulk products.

The S+S model Varicon-D inspection system was selected for both small pack and bulk pack lines. The inspection system handles belt widths up to 500mm (19.6 in.) and can accommodate passage heights up to 350mm (13.79 in.). The detectors use two-channel sensing technology and work with all metals. Digital signal processors and microprocessor technology provide product compensation, an auto-learn function plus a multi-product memory.

All of Crewmint’s output is passed through one of the two S+S Varicon-D metal detectors. The small packs pass though a machine fitted with an air blast rejection system to automatically deflect any suspect pack into a reject bin. The second machine inspects the bulk packs supplied to food manufacturers and catering companies. As the bulk packs are too heavy to be rejected automatically, the conveyor stops and an alarm sounds whenever a contaminated pack passes through the Varicon-D machine.

“Our reputation is built on reliability and quality,” says Crewmint Managing Director Roger Young, “and the final inspection process is the most important part of our QA program. Although much of our processing is manual, it is always possible that some small metallic contamination could enter the final package. By using the S+S metal detection equipment as the final check, we can be sure that the product our customers receive is totally free of contamination.”

For more information:
Doug Pedersen, 716-297-1922, doug.pedersen@sesotec.com