'Three-headed dog’ on factory floor to detect contaminants

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Meat processors are keen to reduce product give-away
Meat processors are keen to reduce product give-away

Related tags Metal detection

Combining three functions into one machine optimises investments and saves space on the factory floor, says Interfood Technology, as it introduces the Sparc Cerberus 420. 

The Cerberus 420 is a high speed inspection unit which provides automated checkweighing, metal detection, and label verification from one machine.

The three-pronged approach inspired the name ‘Cerberus,’ which is the three-headed dog from Greek mythology who guards the underworld.

Automation is always in demand

Rob Allen, divisional manager, Interfood Technology, told FoodProductionDaily.com automation of processes – where technology can increase process control and reduce potential for human error – is always in demand. It is the first time the company has been able to offer the three functions in a single machine.

Processors are looking to optimise their investments so having a machine which can perform thee jobs in one rather than having to use three separate machines is a significant advantage​,” he said.

Automating the processes and therefore reducing the need for human intervention can also help reduce costs, as well as improving repeatability and consistency.  

Space is often at a premium in many food processing operations so having a single machine that takes up less room is an important factor.​”

The Cerberus 420 can accommodate all pack formats in sizes up to 300mm x 300mm x 100mm. 

Out-of-tolerance (non-conforming) or contaminated packs are rejected into dedicated lockable stations, which is done by an in-line, servo driven reject system without the need for compressed air. This offers potential savings of up to £4,000 a year on running costs compared with machines based on compressed air operation, according to Allen.

Cerberus 420
Cerberus 420

Checkweighing, metal detection and labelling verification

Precision weighing technology is particularly important for meat processors, because product give-away – volumes which go above the stated pack weight – eats into profits.

Give-away is one of the major issues faced by meat processors as it can have such a big impact on profitability​,” said Allen. 

Better control of give-away, coupled with high acceptance rates (accuracy) and waste reduction are key, particularly with the ongoing trend towards natural product types, where the cost of the raw material is higher and therefore the need to maximise yield even more important,​” he added.

Inaccuracies in product labelling are identified with the Sparceye continuous top and bottom label inspection.

Many packaging applications require labels to be applied either to the top, the bottom or indeed both sides of the product pack – the Cerberus 420 provides high speed checking of label presence, positioning, barcodes and all variable information on primary and secondary labels.​”

The Cerberus 420 can be supplied with integrated data collection software to provide instant live OEE (overall equipment efficiency) data. Cerberus 420 is compliant to all existing COPs (code of practices) for the UK/Irish customer base, and runs at speeds of up to 200ppm.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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