3 Magnet Audits Conducted For Food Safety

Testing Magnetic Separators in Food Processing Plants

In one week, we have conducted Magnetic Separation Audits at three separate UK food processing plants.  The audits form part of the quality management system of each company and are used for both internal and external food quality and safety assessments.

A Magnetic Separation Audit involves the physical testing and inspection of all Magnetic Separators.

Physically Testing the Magnetic Strength

The first part of the inspection assesses the magnetic strength.  This involves using a Pull Test Kit which includes a spring balance and various sizes and shapes of magnetically susceptible steel test pieces.  A Gauss Meter is not used as the readings can be inaccurate and variable.  The physical test involves placing the steel test piece on the surface of the magnet (on a magnetic pole) and measuring the amount of force (in kgs) that is needed to remove the item from the surface of the magnet.  This is then repeated and an average reading recorded.

Visually Assessing the Magnet

The second set of tests involve the visual inspection of the Magnetic Separators and we are checking for:

  • The amount of metal contamination captured by the Magnet;
  • Signs of damage or wear;
  • Weld integrity;
  • Fixings and any related safety issues (e.g. missing restraining nuts);
  • Cleaning regimes and ease of cleaning;

Findings

In the three recent audits there were a number of findings including:

  • Magnetic Separators were in locations where it was extremely difficult to clean and may be considered a safety risk;
  • Welds on a Magnetic Separator had been eaten away by the acidic product resulting in liquid penetrating the Tube Magnet.  This caused the magnets to expand within the stainless steel casing and also destroyed the magnetic field;
  • Damaged Tube Magnets
    Tube Magnets where the welds have failed and liquid has seeped inside the stainless steel casing causing the magnets to expand and lose all magnetic strength
  • The magnetic strength of some Magnetic Separators (especially those that had been installed for some time) was very poor and the level of separation would be minimal;
  • In some locations, Magnetic Separators had been removed from the process but were still registered in the system;
  • The positioning of some Magnetic Separators could be changed to improve the metal separation performance;

Action

Following the Magnetic Separation Audit, a full report, with all the test results, is written and submitted with recommendations.  This then forms part of the food processing company’s internal quality audit system and is refereed to when there are inspections from external third parties and customers.  Commonly the audit is repeated on a annual basis using the same test parameters.

Similar audits are also undertaken in other industries including Plastics Production and Recycling.  An annual health check ensures that the Magnetic Separators are performing to their maximum potential and achieving the separation goals for which they were originally installed.

For more information on the issue of Metal Contamination and Metal Separation, or to arrange a free onsite survey and audit of a particular plant or process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email:  sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website

Plastics Positivity at Technivation

Polymer Training and Innovation Centre Hosts UK Plastics Sector Professionals

The Technivation conference, hosted by the Polymer Training and Innovation Centre in Telford (18th April 2018), attracted delegates from across the UK plastics sector.

The Polymer Training and Innovation Centre (PITC) provides training for engineers working with plastics and has an extensive range of working equipment including moulding machines, pneumatic conveying systems, and magnetic separators.

Bunting Europe at TechnivationAt Technivation, there were talks from machinery manufacturers and also an industry update from the British Plastics Federation.  BPF Membership Services Director, Stephen Hunt, highlighted a change in the awareness and public perception of plastics since the airing of the BBC Blue Planet II series at the end of 2017.  The BPF have been working hard to clarify misconceptions about plastics, highlighting that plastic is vital in the manufacture of so many products including cars, medical equipment, and IT.  They are presently working closely with the UK Government on the proposed tax for single use plastics, which closes on 18th May 2018.

As Stephen Hunt explained, the plastics sector is the 8th largest exporting industry in the UK with a turnover of £25.5 billion.  The sector is also the 2nd largest employer in the manufacturing industry.  He also highlighted how waste from the USA and European Union combined only contributes 2% to the amount of plastic waste found in our oceans.

Delegates at Technivation had the opportunity to tour the training facility and meet representatives from equipment manufacturers including Summit Systems, Kistler, Arburg, and Staubli.  Tom Higginbottom, Bunting’s Sales Engineer, was demonstrating how to effectively remove metal from the plastics process using a combination of a FF Drawer Filter Magnet and Quicktron Metal Detector.

“At Technivation it was really good to be able to demonstrate how to remove metal and also to show how the equipment is actually installed on a working moulding machine,” explained Tom.  “We supplied the FF Drawer Filter Magnets to PTIC so that the importance of metal removal is included in the training programmes.”

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Bunting Europe at Technivation

Polymer Training and Innovation Centre Protected by Bunting Drawer Filter Magnet

Magnetic Separator Technology for Plastics Training

The Polymer Training & Innovation Centre in Telford has added a Bunting Magnetics Drawer Filter Magnet to the range of equipment at their plastics manufacturing training facility.  The FF Drawer Filter Magnet attracts and captures any fine and coarse magnetically susceptible materials that enter the plastics manufacturing process.

Bunting FF Grate Magnet
A Bunting Magnetics Europe FF Grate Magnet included in a plastics production line at the Polymer Training and Innovation Centre in Telford

The Polymer Training & Innovation Centre provides polymer training and consultancy, specialising in injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion training.  They are a technical training and consultancy business that is owned by City of Wolverhampton College.

At their Telford training facility, the Polymer Training & Innovation Centre has working production-sized plastics manufacturing equipment for injection moulding, blow moulding, thermoforming, materials handling, and a wide range of other important ancillary equipment.

Technical Trainer, Andrew Dermody, explained the importance of trainees having practical training on the equipment.

“We have great support from the industry and equipment manufacturers such as Bunting.  This support means that we can deliver practical training, with a hands-on approach, and that is the best way for our delegates to learn.  Having the Drawer Filter Magnet installed exactly as it would be in a production plant, is an ideal way to show our students best-practice and highlight the importance of metal removal.”

Bunting FF Grate Magnet

The training facility at Telford was refurbished in early 2017 and Bunting supplied the FF Drawer Filter Magnet in March 2018.  The FF Grate Magnet is bolted onto the bottom flange of a Summit Systems fed hopper.  The Magnetic Separator has a transparent front plate so that operators are able to see the material passing through or held within the system.  Virgin plastic beads fall from the hopper through two rows of high strength Tube Magnets, which attract and hold any magnetically susceptible materials.  The Tube Magnets use ultra-strong, permanent, Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets.  The cleaned plastic beads are then fed into the Engel injection moulding machine.  Removing all metal contamination ensures that the final plastic product is free from defects and reduces the amount of waste and potential damage to moulding machines.

Bunting FF Grate Magnet

On a regular frequency, dictated by the amount of metal captured, the Tube Magnets are removed as one complete assembly from the housing and cleaned.  The design of the Drawer Filter Magnet means that removal of the Magnet Assembly is quick and easy, keeping maintenance times to a minimum.

“The Bunting design is good as it is very visible,” said Dermody.  “Often Magnetic Separators are placed out of sight in hoppers, which means that they can be forgotten.  In this installation, the Drawer Filter Magnet is right in front of the machine operator and the clear front allows easy visual checking of the magnets.”

Bunting also supplied Drawer Filter Magnets for use in the classroom and the Polymer Training & Innovation Centre plan to incorporate ‘metal separation’ as one of the course topics.

The Drawer Grate Magnet is widely regarded as standard for the plastics industry and Bunting has supplied thousands to plastics manufacturing operations globally.

“It is great that delegates are able to see, in practice, the importance of having good Magnetic Separation equipment in the plastics process,” said Tom Higginbottom, Bunting’s Sales Engineer.  “Even with virgin raw materials, there is always a small amount of fine ferrous metal contamination and there is always the risk of larger tramp iron that could seriously damage the injection moulding machine.”

On the 18th April 2018, the Polymer Training & Innovation Centre is staging the Technivation event at their recently upgraded training facility in Telford.  During the day there will be a series of short technical presentations, the opportunity to experience their Polymer on-line simulation software, and the chance to meet and talk with primary and secondary equipment suppliers including Bunting Magnetics.  Visitors will be able to learn more about Polymer Apprenticeship’s and Funding and discuss their organisations own training requirements.

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Bunting FF Grate Magnet
A Bunting Magnetics Europe FF Grate Magnet included in a plastics production line at the Polymer Training and Innovation Centre in Telford

Export Orders Secured at Ceramitec 2018

Electro Magnetic Filters Ordered by Turkish Ceramics Producer

Bunting’s first time as an exhibitor at Ceramitec 2018, the leading exhibition for ceramics and ceramic technology held in Munich, Germany (April 10-13), proved to be a huge success.

Ceramitec 2018“We did not expect to secure orders on the stand,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales, “and were thrilled to have an order placed for two Electro Magnetic Filters from a ceramic producer in Turkey.”

Bunting was exhibiting alongside ceramics and mineral processing magnetic separator specialist Master Magnets.

” When we [Bunting] acquired Master Magnets [January 2017] our aim was to expand our product portfolio and end-markets.  For decades, Master Magnets has been a leader in the design and manufacture of high intensity magnetic separators for the ceramics and mineral processing industries.  At Ceramitec, the global awareness of the Master Magnets brand was very evident.”

During the 4-day exhibition, Bunting and Master Magnets received enquiries for:

Ceramitec 2018Magnetic Liquid Traps – installed in pipelines with high intensity Rare Earth Magnets removing fine iron from slips and glazes;

Drawer Filter Magnets – installed on dry process lines to remove free and tramp iron, protecting mills and other processing equipment;

Rare Earth Roll Separators – used to remove weakly and para magnetic materials and minerals from non-metallic bodies such as Spray Dried Ceramics, Feldspar and Silica Sand;

Induced Roll Separators (IMR) – used for the continuous extraction of weakly and para magnetic particles from non-metallic minerals such as feldspar and silica sand;

“Ceramitec proved to be a resounding success.  We are going to be busy confirming our magnetic separator recommendations and also conducting laboratory tests in the Master Magnets laboratory in Birmingham, UK,” said Dave.

For further information on Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets and our range of magnetic separation equipment designed for purifying ceramics and non-metallic minerals, please visit our websites or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

Ceramitec 2018

6 Metal in Food Safety Scares in 2017

UK Food Standards Agency Reports 6 Metal-in-Food Problems in 2017

Six warnings of UK food being contaminated with metal fragments were reported by the UK Food Standards Agency in 2017.  The food safety warnings ranged from sweets to meat products.

Metal In Food Safety Warnings 2017

Greencore recalled various brands of Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wraps because of concerns that the products contained metal fragments (20 December 2017).  Greencore, as precautionary measure, recalled various brands of Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wraps.  The products, manufactured by Greencore, were sold in Aldi, Co-op Food and Morrisons retail stores.

Athole Tablet Ltd recalled tablet products because of possible contamination by small pieces of metal (31 August 2017).

William Santus & Co recalled Uncle Joe’s Liquorice & Aniseed Extra Strong Mints (35g tins) as there were concerns that the sweets may have contained small pieces of metal (15 May 2017).

Morrisons recalled Trimmed Beans because of the reported presence of small pieces of metal (20 April 2017).

Metal Found In Morrisons Green Beans

Quorn Foods Ltd recalled a batch of its frozen Quorn Meat Free Mince because of the presence of small pieces of metal (2 March 2017).  The affected product was only on sale at Tesco from 27 February 2017 to 1 March 2017.

Lotus Bakeries UK Ltd recalled Lotus Biscoff Crunchy Biscuit Spread because of small metal contamination concerns (2 March 2017).  This product was sold at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose, Ocado and Nisa stores.  In addition, batch number 7005109 with ‘best before’ date 5 February 2018 has also been sold through East End Foods.

How Does Metal Get Into Food?

Metal In Food-1136All of the foods listed have been processed and it is during that process that metal can contaminate the product.  Food entering a process plant will potentially go through stages of washing, size reduction (e.g. cutting, mashing, slicing), mixing, forming, cooking and packaging.  Metal can be introduced from the wear or failure of processing equipment, or through human error.  In fact, it is not uncommon for metal to contaminate food.  However, it is unusual that metal contaminated food reaches the end consumer.

All food companies use a combination of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors to separate and detect the metal.  When metal contaminated products are found to reach the consumer, it can be concluded that this safety equipment failed.

Reviewing the performance of the Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors on a regular basis is important to ensure that any metal contamination problem is identified and dealt with at the factory.  Regular audits will check the integrity of the Magnetic Separators, assessing and recording the magnetic strength and reassessing the location.  Audits for Metal Detectors will check the application, assessing detection sensitivities.

Often such audits find that changes in the process or product (including packaging) mean that the performance of the Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors is no longer optimised.

Thankfully, metal in food safety alerts remain relatively infrequent in the UK, although each one causes significant financial and reputation damage to the producer and food retailer.

For more information on preventing Metal Contamination Food Safety Scares, or to arrange a free onsite survey and audit of a particular plant or process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email:  sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website