X-Ray systems see through yogurt containers…and cases
Metal detection systems can’t see through foil lids, nor can they detect stones, pits, and other non-metallic foreign objects.
Commonwealth Dairy, a joint venture between Ehrmann USA and Commonwealth Yogurt, started up a new, state-of-the-art production facility in Brattleboro, Vermont in May 2011. Its filling lines, which produce yogurts for private label customers, are anchored with Osgood fillers and Mettler-Toledo Safeline’s SmartChek X-ray inspection systems to assure the highest level of food safety.
“We had the luxury of having a greenfield project,” says Thomas Moffitt, CEO at Commonwealth Dairy. “We took the opportunity to invest in the highest technology equipment so we could produce the highest quality product. The Osgood fillers and Safeline X-ray inspection systems are examples of the extraordinary technology we rely on here to create superior quality yogurts.”
“We searched for flexible inspection equipment that could inspect the whole case as well as individual cups of yogurt. Metal detectors were not ideal because of the foil lidding on our cups. We needed X-ray systems,” explains Ben Johnson, CFO. “We looked at X-ray systems from three different manufacturers. We considered the supplier’s service, the technology’s capabilities and the price of the equipment, in that order. Based on these criteria, we choose Metter-Toledo Safeline and selected its SmartChek X-ray systems.”
“We work hard to take the highest precautions at every step,” says Johnson. “The Safeline X-ray systems detect metal, glass and plastic. They’ll also detect a broken bit of pit from an apricot, peach or cherry, wood from the harvesting of strawberries and more. Basically, they recognize foreign objects by measuring the density of product and detecting differences or irregularities. Inspecting packaged product before it’s shipped gives us confidence that high quality product is leaving our facility.”
“The Safeline X-ray systems exceed our expectations. We’re impressed with the systems’ sensitivity to detect the very small objects that we regularly run through as tests. We’ve had no unplanned downtime. And the systems are very easy to use,” Johnson adds.
Commonwealth Diary operates its production lines 24 hours a day, five days a week. The lines are dedicated to producing 80 mm, 95 mm and 115 mm diameter cups, with changeovers to handle different cup volumes and a variety of yogurt flavors and types.
To ease changeover, the X-ray systems are preprogrammed with the necessary settings for each product. The operator simply enters the product code via the color touchscreen control panel and the accept/reject threshold for that product is defined. The SmartChek X-ray systems feature an auto-learn capability that constantly analyzes natural variations in the product to continuously achieve superior sensitivity throughout the production run.
“Our sales rep, Don Stewart of Flo-Dynamics, was a determining factor in our selecting Mettler-Toledo Safeline. He took the initiative to show us what the equipment could do and how the company would stand behind it,” says Johnson. “The Safeline service technician did a fantastic job of setting up the systems, which wasn’t easy because we were still in construction mode.”
“Our choice of equipment is a reflection of the quality-conscious strategy that permeates everything we do,” Moffitt concludes. “Our Osgood Fillers and Safeline X-ray inspection systems help us achieve the highest quality standards.”
For more information, Robert Scott, 813-889-9500, firstname.lastname@example.org