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Keeping dog treats metal-free

A manufacturer of dog treats and chews, TFH Publications takes no chances when it comes to metal detection technology on its plant floor.

PASSWORD-PROTECTED. Because the metal detectors at TFH Publications are password-protected, unauthorized access to the settings
PASSWORD-PROTECTED. Because the metal detectors at TFH Publications are password-protected, unauthorized access to the settings

Neptune, NJ-based TFH Publications, the maker of Nylabone dog treats and chews, is dedicated to producing products that are safe and effective. To assure the highest final product quality, they rely on PowerPhasePLUS metal detectors from Mettler-Toledo Safeline on their nine packaging lines at their two production facilities.

“We searched the market to identify the best metal detectors for our applications. We considered the reputation of the supplier and their support, the reliability of the equipment, and the ability of the system to meet our specific standards. We also considered cost. The PowerPhasePLUS came out on top,” notes Glen Axelrod, President and CEO of TFH Publications. “We are so impressed with Safeline’s metal detectors, we continue to install them on new production lines as we expand.” The latest was installed in July 2010.

The nine conveyorized PowerPhasePLUS metal detectors at Nylabone are downstream of the primary packaging operation to verify no metal entered through contaminated raw materials or during manufacturing or packaging. This assures all products are metal-free before they are shipped to customers.

To maximize inspection sensitivity, the Safeline metal detectors feature high-frequency coil technology and advanced head geometry that allow the systems to consistently detect ferrous and non-ferrous metal as well as the more difficult-to-detect stainless steel. A “Faraday Screen,” which is located between the metal detector’s coil and the product being inspected, virtually eliminates false rejects by filtering out signals that can interfere with the system.

“Our metal detectors are more sensitive than we need but it’s good to err on the side of caution,” says Axelrod. “Ultimately, the purpose is to catch anything. One piece of metal in a million packaged products is one too many. We test the detectors periodically by running intentionally-contaminated product through to be sure it’s caught. We’re very happy with the consistency of the operation.”

The PowerPhasePLUS metal detectors at TFH offer dual-frequency operation, which achieves greater sensitivity over the company’s wide range of products. The metal detectors’ “product clustering” feature enables the inspection of a variety of products on one line without operator intervention at changeover. The versatility of PowerPhasePLUS is best illustrated on the vf/f/s line at TFH, which produces pouches of dog chews and treats from 50 grams to 2.5 kilogram in size.

To help assure the metal detectors are operating at peak performance, they are password-protected, which prevents unauthorized access to the settings. Operators have one level of access, while supervisors and engineers have deeper access. This guarantees that somebody trained as an operator isn’t changing the sensitivity of the system.

“We’ve got a strong brand name in Nylabone, and we go to great lengths to protect it. The Safeline metal detectors are an important element of our overall quality assurance program,” concludes Axelrod. “We are all about quality—it plays into the theme of our existence.”

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