Tortilla maker ensures quality and safety with new metal detectors
Arevalo Foods, a family-owned processor, offers one of the largest selections of tortillas in the world—producing more than 3.5 million per day in Montebello, Calif. To support its double-digit growth over the past few years, Arevalo installed three METTLER TOLEDO Safeline Profile Advantage metal detectors to help protect its final product quality.
“Tortillas are especially challenging products for most metal detectors, since they often have high temperatures and a moisture content above 30%,” says Alex Arevalo, president of Arevalo Foods.
“We wanted to work with METTLER TOLEDO because we have other metal detectors from them and they’re fantastic,” Vice President Daniel Arevalo says. “Initially, we purchased two of these systems and were so impressed that we ordered a third. Now we’re planning to replace all our older metal detectors.”
The Profile Advantage is designed to identify and reject every type of metal in even the most difficult applications. It excels at discerning changes due to the presence of metal versus changes within the product by using multi-simultaneous frequency to create a reference point. This feature maximizes sensitivity when inspecting all kinds of products.
Each of Arevalo’s systems inspects a different type of tortilla: heat-pressed, die-cut and hand-stretched. Between 6 and 14 inches in size, the tortillas are packed in four- to 30-count bags as well as bulk packages. Metal detection is the final step before case packing.
“Production flexibility is especially important to us. In addition to producing the three main types of corn and flour tortillas, we have organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and flavored options. We also make precut chips and strips, gluten-free pizza crusts and fully-topped pizzas,” explains Alex Arevalo. “Given all of our products, it’s not unusual for us to changeover our lines as often as four or five times in a single shift.”
The detectors can store up to 100 different recipes for fast recall during changeovers and feature a product clustering capability that reduces the need for setting changes. When running a brand new product, the single-pass auto setup routine quickly analyzes it, determines the ideal settings and stores the data in the system’s memory.
“The recipe-driven programming is one of our favorite things about these metal detectors. It takes only a couple of minutes to add a totally new product and a minute to select a pre-programmed recipe,” Alex Arevalo says. “The recipes also reduce false rejects by ensuring the proper settings are selected every time. Because we don’t rework products, any false rejects mean lost yield and a waste of our time and money.”
To reliably remove rejected packages of all shapes and sizes from the line, METTLER TOLEDO customized Arevalo’s reject systems with an automatic arm that pushes the package off the line, as well as an alert light and an alarm. To verify the removal of any rejects, sensors monitor the infeed, outfeed and path of rejected packages. Arevalo also selected optional lockable bins to hold rejected packages, so only authorized QA personnel can access them for analysis and disposal.
“Ease of cleaning is another big reason why we chose the Profile Advantage. In particular, the flour in our facility is abrasive to electrical components, which can be tough on equipment,” Alex Arevalo explains. “Our metal detectors are incredibly reliable and have stood up great in this harsh environment.”
For more information, visit www.mt.com/pi