Mike Bradley, a product inspection specialist with Mettler-Toledo, explains why a good testing regime gives you a competitive edge, and how to go about implementing one


roduct inspection equipment has a key role to play in ensuring that the

food we eat is contamination-free, that products are meeting weights and measures regulations, that labels contain accurate information, and that products are presented perfectly in secure packaging. Regular testing of metal detectors, x-ray systems, checkweighers and vision inspection systems is therefore a critical factor in ensuring that processing and production lines are optimised and that safety and quality levels are consistently maintained.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES However, negative perceptions about the role of equipment testing persist. The mistaken belief that testing is somehow an unnecessary burden is leading to sub- optimal equipment performance and inadequate training, which can not only impact productivity but also threaten consumer safety. In addition, some food manufacturers and processors continue to miss out on opportunities to optimise productivity because their lack of understanding about the positive role of product inspection equipment testing. In general terms, it is usually retailers

who have the most positive approach to equipment testing, appreciating its value for brand protection and consumer safety. Among food manufacturers and processors, however, the level of understanding is far more variable: some see the benefits of testing best practice, while others do not appreciate the importance of well-calibrated, optimised systems altogether. Failure to implement an adequate

testing regime is not only irresponsible from a consumer safety perspective – it is throwing away a big business opportunity. If tests are not conducted properly, or are missed altogether, it increases the risk of errors. The consequences could be anything from lost revenue due to product giveaway if a checkweigher is not correctly calibrated, impacting profits, to a full-scale recall because contaminated product has entered the food chain. Either way, the cost and repercussions can be significant. The bottom line is that a product inspection system is usually the last critical control point before goods leave the factory, so you need to make sure it works if you want to protect your customers and your cashflow. Food manufacturers and processors who continue to see testing as a burden will miss out on the business benefits. For example, despite the rise in process automation, test results are still commonly recorded on paper and not fed into the production network for further

Product inspection equipment

manufacturers like Mettler-Toledo are committed to developing technological and training solutions that can support appropriate testing regimes

analysis. This is a missed opportunity for spotting performance trends and areas for improvement. And the benefits of a proper equipment

testing programme do not stop at improving productivity and OEE. Manufacturers who view testing more positively may also benefit from improved employee relations. This is particularly noticeable where the person undertaking the test understands why it is important and how it contributes positively to their job function, to the company and to the customer. In the best food manufacturing companies, test responsibility is allocated as a matter of trust, not viewed as a task that makes an operator’s life harder! Involving employees fully in the need

for testing and explaining its importance is all part of building a better, more engaged, team. Mettler-Toledo offers regular training to its customers so that operators, quality managers and maintenance teams are fully briefed about correct testing practice and see it as an integral part of their role. One of the key negative perceptions around testing is the issue of downtime. On busy production lines, time out to conduct testing impacts the bottom line. In response, Mettler-Toledo continuously develops technological solutions to support hard-pressed food manufacturers and processors.

According to Mike Bradley, it is in food manufacturers’ best interests to embrace testing


The latest NC Series of Non-Contact Testers, which enable electricians and maintenance teams to quickly and safely identify live wiring and detect magnetic fields in a range of applications, are now available from Martindale Electric. All models feature a bright LED torch at the point of measurement, together with both audible and visual indication. The extended clear probe tip makes it easier to identify the source of the live voltage or magnetic field through improved access and brighter indication. Both the NC2 Non-contact Voltage Detector and NC4 Dual Sensitivity Non-contact voltage detector make it

simple to detect the presence of AC voltages in cabling, sockets and connectors. The sensitivity of the NC2 has been optimised for 230V single and 3 phase systems, so it can identify and trace live mains cables in trunking and connectors. The NC4 features two sensitivity ranges which can be set according to the application, and is suitable for both mains and lower voltage systems down to 12V. The Non-contact Magnetic Field Detection capabilities of the NC1 Non-contact Solenoid/Magnetic Field Tester and NC3 Non-contact Voltage and Magnetic Field Tester can be used for checking the operation of relays and solenoid valves in a wide range of machinery. This feature saves time by allowing testing without having to dismantle equipment or control panels. Suitable applications for both testers include trouble shooting and servicing of control equipment in process industries, energy, and pneumatic and hydraulic systems. Martindale Electric


INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY AND OEE One current example is Reduced Test Mode software, which can reduce the frequency at which metal detectors are tested by as much as 80 per cent, delivering opportunities to increase productivity and OEE in certain applications. Another innovation is ProdX, a software programme that can capture and analyse data about test frequency and test results in order to meet retailer preferred supplier requirements around automation and quality auditing.

Product inspection equipment

manufacturers like Mettler-Toledo are committed to developing technological and training solutions that can support appropriate testing regimes. The aim is that more and more food manufacturers will be encouraged to embrace product inspection equipment testing: not as a necessary chore, but as a positive contributing factor in upholding quality, optimising production, and meeting compliance requirements.



Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52