Baking & Snack - August 2018 - 123
Bakers must work with packaging and inspection
companies to ensure end-of-line quality and safety.
by Karlee Renkoski
A bakery product might have an aroma that makes the
mouth water, an ingredient list that says health and wellness, and a look that is more than picture perfect; it might
even be "Insta-worthy." However, if a consumer takes a
bite and finds the unwanted and unforseen - perhaps
something inedible - the moment of satisfaction is
erased. Suddenly a bakery is receiving a complaint, which
could spiral into other, bigger consequences.
Although precautionary actions are taken before the
packaging stage, a product should be inspected in its final
form - even after being bagged or boxed up - to ensure
safety and quality has not been breached just before or
during packaging. Baking and snack companies can use
X-rays, metal detectors and vision systems individually or
in combination to eliminate products that contain metal,
glass, plastic or even accidental allergens. But these detectors and reject systems also have to keep up with highspeed lines.
"The trouble is we've got to make a decision in
real time," said Steve Gidman, president, Fortress
Technology. "Dealing with highspeed lines does not give
us the luxury to say, 'Let's just look at your loaf of bread.
We'll come back to you in 20 minutes with a decision.'
We've got milliseconds to know if it's good or a reject."
Bakers also must consider the type, size and temperature of a product and, in the packaging stage, understand how certain materials will affect inspection.
Detection challenges post packaging
End-of-line safety equipment has its challenges when
trying to get a clear picture of the product. And as one
might guess, a big issue can be packaging materials getting in the way. It's a lot easier to inspect a snack bar
without its package than an individually wrapped bar or,
worse, multiple ones inside a box.
Dennis Gunnell, vice-president of sales, Formost Fuji,
said seal integrity and bag closures must be built into the
packages and will affect what type of packaging material
is chosen. "Customers need to communicate what their
expectations are and what they want to test for and talk
to all the groups involved," he said. "They could come to
us and say, 'We're going to use metalized film.' Then it
might get out of our machine and go right into a metal
detector, and they've got a problem."
Cookie packages are typically inert because they use
mostly plastic or paper, but some types of packaging can
cause a problem. "Metalized film is a bit of a different
beast," Mr. Gidman said. "It's just a sprayed-on aluminum coating on the plastic, so it's actually metal, but it
produces a large signal that is well-defined and doesn't
change with the temperature."
However, using a metal detector for these types of film
packages will give at least 50% of a performance when
compared with that same product unpackaged. "It is a
concern," Mr. Gidman continued. "We're always looking
at what your packaging is, and if it's metalized film, you
may need to inspect both before and after packaging in
order to optimize protection."
Certain types of end products pose a problem at the
packaging stage as well. A dry snack or bakery product
such as a cookie doesn't contain a lot of moisture and
salt content, so, according to Mr. Gidman, a metal detector would consider it mostly inert and would see
product defects more clearly. However, a moist, hot
bread that just came out of the oven has quite a bit of
added salt. An ohmmeter would think it's conductive,
and a metal detector would determine it's metal due to
its resistance across the ends of the loaf. "The product
signal can be 10 times bigger than the metal signal," Mr.
Gidman explained. "Our challenge in those applications
is much greater where we have to compensate for that
quite large effect coming from the product and still dis-
allows bakers to eject
products that might have
been compromised before
or during packaging.
www.bakingandsnack.com / August 2018 Baking & Snack 123