How to Test Metal Detecting Equipment

Many types of companies use metal detectors to pass internal and external audits, but if they aren’t working properly, then the packaging line could be as vulnerable to product contamination as it would be without metal detectors entirely. When starting your packaging assembly, you should take certain steps to test your metal detectors to avoid potential detecting errors or breakdowns.

Here’s a simple guide for testing your metal detecting machinery.

1. Perform a Test Run with Your Product

The first thing you should do when testing your equipment is make sure the product passes through the detector without resulting in a false reject. Whether your product is cereal, cheese, meat, paper, plastic pallets, or other types of food or nonfood items, your owner’s manual should help you with the correct setup to prevent false rejects.


2. Use a Metal Test Part in the Weakest Detection Spot

One of the best ways to test your equipment’s detecting abilities is to place a small metal sample part in the weakest detection area of packaging. This helps make sure that the equipment is able to detect contaminants regardless of their place within product packaging. You can try placing the metal in various areas of the packaging as well, and test it multiple times to determine the equipment’s detection capacity. If you discover that the equipment is unable to locate the metal part anywhere within the packaging, you may need to readjust your metal detector or consider a different model.

3. Allow the Detector to Fully Reject Products

When performing a test run of your metal detector, you should let the equipment complete a full product reject to determine whether or not each part is working correctly. Flap gates, kickers, air blasts, retraction, and other devices may not perform their necessary function, which may indicate that replacements are required. Consult your operation manual to learn the correct settings for your application.

4. Test Equipment 10 Times

If you want to be sure that your metal detector is working the way it should, you should test multiple times. A good threshold for this is the passage of 10 packages through the equipment. If any of them result in rejection, it may either indicate actual product contamination or a potential mechanical problem, warranting investigation.

Testing Other Machinery in Your Production Line

Metal detectors are only a small final element of most production lines. To make sure your packaging equipment is performing optimally, you should perform test runs on all of your equipment. Form fill seal machinery, conveyors, freezers, and other types of packaging equipment in your facility may have mechanical issues that remain overlooked until a lack of productivity is noticed or breakdowns occur. Testing equipment regularly can help assure you that you’re production line isn’t suffering from any potential weaknesses in performance.

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