Metal and X-Ray Detectable Plastics

Food safety vigilance and increasingly stringent government guidelines continue to drive the importance of keeping foreign material out of food and food ingredients. More often than not, the threat to food safety comes when some unwanted element—a fragment of metal, piece of rubber, plastic or grain husk—enters a food ingredient or its package.

Technological improvements in both equipment and chemical additives are helping food processors detect and reject unwanted elements before the final product reaches consumers—helping to ensure product safety and quality while reducing the risk of unwanted media attention and legal snafus.

Ensuring effective measures to prevent contamination of food products is a major concern for food manufacturers. Not only do contamination accidents require production line stoppages and incur huge recall costs, they also involve vast amounts of time and money to regain consumer confidence.

Detectable PEEK

Ordinary plastics cannot be detected by metal detectors or x-ray machines. However, by incorporating new resin additives during manufacturing, broken pieces or fragments of plastic materials can be detected by a metal detector or x-ray inspection system before getting mixed in with food products. This allows manufacturers to prevent contaminated products from reaching the market. Detectable additives can be included in the resin to impart magnetic susceptibility in plastics so they can be separated magnetically or detected by metal detectors and x-ray inspection systems.

This technology significantly increases the added safety culture in a food processing operation by adding detectability to items which are not naturally detectable or separable. Parts or pieces that can potentially contaminate food products can be detected, located and isolated using standard inspection equipment.

Kelstream uses this technique in producing its scrapers. When a piece of a scraper breaks down, there is a chance that it will be taken in the further process. By using metal and x-ray detectable PEEK, the part can be taken out of the food before it is packed and shipped to the customer. Even the slightest part of only a few millimetres can be detected.

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