Safeguarding food with real-time reporting

Published: 28-Sep-2020

In most westernised economies, food processors document all potential product risks, including naturally occurring hazards

To facilitate this automated reporting, Fortress Technology’s metal detectors offer secure, flexible logging of data capture, as well as a range of Industry 4:0 solutions to support track and trace.

From a quality assurance (QA) perspective, this level of surveillance provides valuable peace of mind, especially for food processors sourcing ingredients from multiple suppliers. And from an operational viewpoint, production efficiency within factories is enhanced.

Contact Reporter is a robust automated record keeper developed by Fortress to help processors keep track of and record logs for all metal detector events, such as rejects, faults, quality performance verifications and more.

Available on all Fortress digital Stealth and Interceptor metal detectors, and compliant with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety management systems and principles, each event is automatically time stamped. The data output provides a fully traceable and auditable QA report documenting what happened and when.

Back to business

Food manufacturers that source ingredients from numerous countries will have experienced first hand the vulnerabilities of complex global supply chains built on lean manufacturing principals. Early adopters of digital technologies will be on the front foot as they emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As food legislation suggests, traceability is, and will continue to be, a key priority. In the wake of the pandemic, food safety concerns will be further heightened, likely resulting in greater regulatory pressure.

Analysts are already citing supply chain management, workforce engagement and capital management as the key focus areas in the immediate future. All of this will all require greater use of technology. Digitising processes that have largely been paper-based is a fundamental step change in building sturdier suppler chains.

Supply chain visibility

In many European countries, BRC Global Standards drive the adoption of food and beverage track-and-trace technologies. Deployment of these digital solutions will be even more imperative for building supply chain resilience. Being able to zoom in on production bottlenecks, reconfigure supply chains and swiftly identify and respond to issues with agility can be expedited.

Safeguarding food with real-time reporting

Checking that metal detection systems are failsafe forms part of this agenda. For example, if a fault with the reject system means that a contaminant is detected but not rejected, the line should stop automatically until the situation is resolved. Both the detector performance and fail-safe capability should be tested regularly with results kept on record to support traceability.

Frequently, data from a production line is fed back to a common collection system. However, it is critical to ensure the data that being sent is readable and compatible by whatever the plant is using.

Here, food processors can benefit from having equipment adapted to common OPC standards. Doing so means that they can then collect and export data, which can be used to inform future and sensible production decisions.

Managing Director Phil Brown comments: “Until recently, digitisation of food production processes has largely occurred in pockets, predominantly among the biggest players. Although the technology is there, the current crisis has acutely highlighted the digital gaps in food supply chains.”

Included as standard on all Stealth and Interceptor metal detectors, Contact Reporter Software from Fortress uses a powerful back-end SQL database to monitor activity and generate reports in either PDF or Excel format.

Auditor-approved, reports can be selected for a specific production line and/or time period. For record keeping, event and performance information is stored securely for a minimum of 10 years, with the option to extend storage capacity to more than 20 years.

For simplicity and ease of use, data can be transferred from the detector to a centralised computer via USB or an optional secure Ethernet connection.

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