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Fortress metal detectors deliver CCP protection for bakery lines

11 June 2015

Fortress Technology has supplied seven Stealth metal detectors combined with Vector conveyors as part of a new, centralised bakery for a major retailer.

Each Fortress system acts as a critical control point (CCP) at the end of a packaging line. According to the site’s primary contractor Frontline Packaging, Fortress’s ability to meet extremely tight deadlines and the company’s expert knowledge regarding retailer requirements were key considerations in clinching the deal as part of this multi-million-pound project.
The packaging section of the new bakery handles over 300 separate artisan products across its six lines, one of which can handle two product streams. Products range from cookies to farmhouse bloomers and French sticks, often in production runs that last just 20 or 30 minutes.

“The broad size range and frequent changeovers meant there is a lot of non-standard engineering involved in these lines,” says Tony Hacker, managing director with Frontline Packaging, which was the main contractor for the overall packaging installation. “The time pressure was also extreme, with the initial enquiry arriving with us in February and a deadline to go live in June. So when I ‘went shopping’ for suppliers to provide the pieces of equipment that we don’t build ourselves, I set a lot of store by which supplier gave me good support at the time of enquiry.”

Each of the major supermarkets demands that equipment suppliers comply with its own Code of Practice (COP) and this project was no exception. “With the COP and the huge product range, the spec I was putting out to suppliers was as long as your arm, plus their response needed to be quick,” says Tony. 

Fortress knew immediately what would be required to meet the COP for this project. “A huge deciding factor was that Fortress already knew the specifications that the machines would have to comply with to meet the retailer’s COP for metal detectors. It includes a wide range of things, from the sensitivity of the detector to padlocks on the reject bins,” says Tony.  

When it came to customising the Fortress systems with non-standard elements, the company’s British-based engineering department was able to check what was possible and respond within a day. For example, on the line that would be handling baguettes, both the pusher and the reject bin needed to be enlarged to handle the awkward shape. Also, all the systems were fitted with custom-built guards to protect them from trollies manoeuvring around the site once the bakery was up and running. “It’s quite a tough environment,” says Tony. 

Fortress delivered the systems on-time and on-budget. All Stealth units use digital signal processing technology and have high sensitivity levels to ensure the detection of the smallest ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel contaminants. The built-in data collection software with USB data transfer establishes the Stealth as an effective CCP complying with stringent HACCP regulations. 

The systems are also easy to use. In the Frontline project, only a single basic training session was needed to enable bakery operators to adjust the settings to handle all the different products.

“All the systems were installed in week one of June and were signed off by the end of the month,” says Tony. “I was very satisfied with the support I received from Fortress and would be happy to work with them or recommend them to other clients in the future.”

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