GLOBAL Thermo Scientific Sentinelâ„¢ 1000 Selectscan assures safety of Frozen Foods during pandemic January 2021

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, frozen food manufacturers are getting increasingly concerned over the safety of their products as well as their factory workers, as most of their factories need to expand production to meet rapid growth in demand for their products.

During the pandemic, consumers prefer to stock frozen foods as they have longer shelf lives thereby allowing people to remain at home and reducing the frequency of visits to grocery stores. Frozen foods are also more convenient to prepare particularly for processed products like nuggets and finger foods. In other words, these will help to reduce one’s exposure to potential infections.

In the US, frozen food sales nearly doubled while in other parts of the world, the segment has grown at double-digit rate of 30 to 50% during the pandemic year (2020).

To meet the surge in demand, factories that produce frozen foods need to operate on longer shifts to churn out higher volume of production with workers required to work longer hours within an optimal floor space lined with equipments. This might contribute to higher risk of interactions and indirectly, infections.

One of the solutions to overcome this risk is to put more measures in place like higher frequency of cleaning equipments, workers’ sanitation controls and modifying work stations so workers can stand a few metres apart.

These are challenging task for the manufacturers as they are expected to increase production in a challenging work environment. As such, one of the most effective solution while not compromising safety is to adopt greater use of automation or technology.

And Thermo Scientific™ Sentinel™ 1000 Selectscan metal detector is one good example of this technology. It alleviates many of the aforementioned challenges by offering a high-performing, flexible contaminant detection solution. Selectscan is a latest metal detection technology that uses one fully-flexible frequency per product application ranging from 50 to 1000 kHz. By using a unique, optimised frequency for each product, a higher level of metal detection can be reached for all products because there is no need to compromise by choosing a single fixed frequency for all.

Setup is made easy with the all-new Autolearn feature, which guides the operator through product configuration using a step-by-step wizard, chooses the correct operating frequency, and optimises phase and sensitivity settings. Using Autolearn, product setup is performed relatively fast while ensuring maximum performance in terms of metal detection. In tandem, Autolearn and Selectscan technology result in less touch-time needed for setup and product changeovers. The work can also be performed by lesser-skilled workers, enabling a high level of metal detection without requiring the need for specially trained workers on the factory floor at all times.

The Sentinel 1000 metal detector also has a rich feature set, including an advanced phase tracking feature particularly valuable to frozen food processors as product may thaw in a warmer environment. The Sentinel 1000 metal detector can automatically compensate small, gradual signal changes over time. By utilising phase tracking, no manual intervention is needed to re-tune the device. The unit will self-correct during thaw without warranting an operator to touch a single button.

Furthermore, the device is also easy to clean and disinfect to prevent virus transmission. It features a resilient stainless-steel case, epoxy aperture liner, and plastic front panel together rated to the IP69K ingress protection standard. The design enables a repeated cleaning routine so as to lower risk of viral transmission without damaging the inner electronics and compromising performance over time.

The Sentinel 1000 metal detector tackles arguably the most challenging and classic metal detection challenge: product effect. Frozen foods typically run as “dry” products, lacking conductivity when frozen solid, as no moisture is present. Still, frozen foods will exhibit some product effect which must be minimised to ensure a high level of metal detection.

To demonstrate the efficacy of the Sentinel 1000 metal detector, a test was recently performed using frozen RTE meals containing steak, rice, gravy, and spiced fruit. The trays were run through a 250x125 mm aperture. Using the Autolearn feature, the Sentinel 1000 metal detector selected a 450 kHz operating frequency in less than 10 minutes of touch time. As a result, metals as low as 0.8 mm ferrous, 0.8 mm nonferrous, and 1.2 mm stainless steel diameter spheres were detected reliably, reaching a high level of food safety in a short period of time. And while 450 kHz worked well for this particular application, it is important to consider that a different frequency may work better for other frozen foods.

Since the Selectscan technology can detect at any frequency from 50 to 1000 kHz, it can be used for a wide range of products that have varying product effect. By dialing-in the best frequency for the application, small metal contaminants can be reliably detected that previously could not be found using a single-frequency device. The Sentinel 1000 metal detector is arguably the most powerful single-frequency metal detection solution available, hosting the features and flexibility needed to keep frozen food safe in the new normal and beyond.

To find out more on Sentinel 1000 metal detector, click HERE




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