The Jewel Date Company is an organic date producer committed to elevating an ancient industry. Handling 10 to 15 million pounds of product per year, they’ve adopted innovative technologies to set new standards in product quality and performance.

Jewel Date decided to replace its aging metal detectors to maximize sensitivity when inspecting challenging products. They selected METTLER TOLEDO Safeline’s most advanced metal detector—the Profile Advantage—and installed one pipeline and two conveyorized systems with multi-simultaneous frequency operation to help ensure final product quality while improving production efficiency.

“Dates are high in moisture and natural minerals, which make them difficult for most metal detectors to accurately inspect,” said Steve Luicci, operations manager at Jewel Date. “We talked with several suppliers, who took samples of our products and sent back reports about their capabilities. The Profile Advantage had the best results.”

Jewel Date installed its first Profile Advantage in October 2016 to inspect date sugars and butters in a wide variety of packages from 10 ounces to 50 lb., including plastic cups, trays, pails, and bags as well as coated paperboard cartons. Mounted on castor wheels, this conveyorized metal detector is easily moved around their Thermal, Calif. facility to any one of three lines.

Based on the success of that first system, they decided to purchase a second conveyorized metal detector, which was installed at their Indio, Calif., facility to inspect table-grade Medjool dates. A pipeline Profile Advantage was also installed to handle date paste. Pumped directly from the grinder, the hot paste runs through the metal detector’s 4-inch pipe before being packed in 25- or 40-lb. bulk plastic-lined corrugated boxes.

“The pipeline Profile Advantage in particular has transformed our operations,” says Luicci. “Our old system couldn’t handle hot product, so we had to freeze the date paste in bulk packages before inspecting it. Not only did this waste five days of time and cost a lot in energy use, we had to move the product to another building.

“The old metal detector had lots of false positives,” says Luicci. “Because the new pipeline unit handles hot product, we no longer need to freeze the paste. It saves us an enormous amount of time, labor and utilities. Most importantly, it’s twice as sensitive as our previous metal detector.”

While many foods are inspected successfully with basic metal detectors, products that are packaged in metalized film or have high variation in temperature, moisture or mineral content benefit from multi-simultaneous frequencies. This technology creates a reference point to better discern changes due to the presence of metal verses changes within the product itself. This virtually eliminates false rejects to increase yield while improving metal sensitivity.

The company faced an especially challenging task in inspecting date paste. Working off of recommendations from Kirk Isham of Pacific Packaging & Inspection, the company decided on the Profile Advantage due to its superior sensitivity and pipeline structure. Previously, a reject would mean 40 pounds of product lost, because the inspection took place after the product was packaged in frozen bulk packages. The new metal detector’s diverter valve efficiency means a reject only costs a pound or two of product.

“At the end of the day, the most important thing is that our Safeline metal detectors have the high level of sensitivity that our customers expect,” says Luicci. “On top of that, the productivity gains and cost savings thanks to the new pipeline system are massive. I can’t even imagine how much time and money it has saved us.”

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