Safe runnings for leading global supplements company
Sterling Technology promotes good health with the help of Mettler-Toledo Safeline.
January 8, 2015 By Andrew Joseph
Sterling Technology is a pioneer. As one of the largest colostrum (a form of milk first produced by mammals during pregnancy) ingredient processors in the world, they supply major manufacturers that create nutritional supplements for immune health, digestive health and cognitive function as well as infant nutrition and more.
Protecting a product that demands perfection, Sterling installed a new Gravity FlowHD metal detector from Mettler-Toledo Safeline on their bulk packaging line in January 2014.
“We were having trouble with our old metal detector, and our efforts to troubleshoot did not resolve it,” says Sterling quality assurance manager Clay Scofield. “Radio interference for example – when our operators used the radio to communicate, they’d click to talk, and that signal would trigger the old metal detector to actuate its reject device. It wasted a lot of product and wasted a lot of our time.
“We wanted a new metal detector that was reliable. We considered two suppliers. We compared the technology, customer service and price,” explains Scofield. “Our Mettler-Toledo Safeline sales rep, Craig Coleman from Westlake, factored into the decision. Every time I have a question for him, he gets back to me the same day. We want that kind of attention.”
The Gravity FlowHD is a heavy duty metal detector that delivers unrivaled levels of detection sensitivity to all metal contaminants in bulk, free flowing powders and granular products. It features a ‘cowbell’ style reject device that incorporates high-speed pneumatics with a cushioned cylinder to ensure the accurate removal of contamination while minimizing product waste.
“Our new Safeline metal detector gives us great detection sensitivity, and it’s perfectly reliable. We ensure the sensitivity by running check balls, which are designed to trigger the reject device,”notes Scofield. “In fact, those tests are the only times the Safeline detector has rejected product. We’ve had no false rejects and we’ve had no incidents of metal contamination.”
The metal detector is located on the packaging line in Sterling’s cleanroom, positioned immediately under a vibrating sifter and over bulk bags that are filled, typically with 20 kilograms of product. The Safeline metal detector features patented Zero Metal Free Zone (ZMFZ) technology, which reduces the length of the infeed pipe and allows the reject device to be positioned close to the detector without interference or false rejects. The ZMFZ is immune to vibration and minimizes the overall height of the system while maximizing detection sensitivity.
“The Safeline metal detector is very easy to operate. Basically, we set it and forget it. Maintenance-wise, we’ve had no issues–we’ve had no unplanned downtime,” says Scofield. “Changing products could require a change in the metal detector’s settings, but that takes less than a minute. The metal detector is password protected with three levels of access. Operators can change to a new product but can’t get deeper into the settings like maintenance personnel and supervisors can.”
Sterling vice-president of sales Derek Kjelden adds: “Our company is known for quality. As a leader in science and manufacturing, we are dedicated to producing innovative products that keep customers happy and healthy while being a reliable partner to client-companies. The Safeline metal detector is an important piece of our comprehensive quality assurance program that’s focused on product safety.”
Summing up, Scofield explains: “We need to know that when we set the metal detector up we’re meeting our high standards. Uptime is also important because if the metal detector goes down, we shut down our production line.
“The Safeline metal detector gives us what we need. It’s got high detection sensitivity, which helps ensure the quality of our product. It’s reliable, so our operators have less to do, and it’s reduced our downtime, which increases our throughput.”
As the world’s largest supplier of metal detectors and x-ray inspection systems, Mettler-Toledo Safeline is the product inspection expert for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.
Mettler-Toledo metal detectors and x-ray inspection systems detect solid contaminants and ensure product quality, portion control and package integrity for ultimate brand protection and regulatory compliance and are backed by 24/7 technical support.