Fortress Technology creates its first modular combined metal detector and checkweigher

UK equipment business Fortress Technology has forged a joint venture with Sparc Systems to unveil its first ever modular, high performance combination metal detector and checkweighing conveyor system.

Due to be unveiled at Interpack 2020, the business revealed its Raptor Combi as a company first, offering a single swipe touchscreen HMI and paperless audit software with unlimited pre-programmed codes of practice, capturing data required to deliver required traceability.

The system has been created for a number of segments including high care confectionery, chocolate, bakery, nutritional bars, and it applies industry-leading technology engineered for high-end Sparc systems, yet overcomes several limitations. Notably the ability to accurately inspect and check the weight of larger size products and pack formats – up to 8kg and measuring 300mm by 400mm.

As the company noted, the machine answers calls from food factories for a more flexible, hygienic and user-friendly combination inspection solution, in what is believed to be among the first systems of its kind for the sector. It features jigsaw style panels at the metal detector infeed and checkweigher outfeed, which give manufacturers the option to rotate the equipment around to suit a specific production layout, while maintaining the metal detection and checkweighing sequence.

Additionally, Raptor’s universal design gives manufacturers the option to purchase a standalone Raptor checkweigher, and attach a complimentary metal detector at a later date to meet different phases of their production and inspection investment strategy.

Managing Director Phil Brown adds: “Both elements of this Raptor system uses compatible collective parts, even when there’s a bespoke element. This means that we can confidently give the assurance of fast delivery – typically six weeks – at the best price-performance ratio.”

Given that most food manufacturers supply multiple retailers, the Raptor introduces an innovative, failsafe, paperless, fully auditable COP test routine. Rather than relying on operatives to schedule, perform, document and submit inspection performance checks, the Raptor pre-configures every test by retailer and product being inspected and alerts and QA managers each time a test is overdue.

Performed at the start and end of each shift, and at regular intervals, a visual reminder is given five minutes before every test is due, with a beacon alerting production operatives to schedule the test. If not performed by the deadline, the machine halts and an alert is generated and sent direct to the factory’s QA or technical manager.

The test process is clearly explained, giving no room for error. Using the touchscreen, operatives select from a list of pre-programmed retailer COP parameters, and the product being inspected. When a test pack passes through the Raptor Combi, a sensor confirms it has been seen, generating a dated due diligence report, signed by the operative on the screen. Notes can added before submission. “By using automation to follow the test principles, it’s impossible to bypass a step in the test process, increasing the transparency and traceability of machine performance audits,” emphasises Phil.

Inspecting up to 150 packs per minute, the Raptor checkweigher is a high-end system that calculates Average Finished Weight Variance. It is approved to both OIML and MID (EC TAC) specifications.

Modifying tried and tested precision weight check software and electronics engineered by Sparc Systems to reduce product giveaway and meet legislative weight requirements, the Raptor checkweigher also sends a controlled feedback signal to upstream automation equipment used to portion food products. This signal specifies when to increase or decrease the fill quantity.

In order to detect the smallest metal particles, a Stealth metal detector is integrated into the inline system. Meeting retailer Codes of Practice and complying with industry guidance, the Stealth model features digital signal processing, built-in data capture, remote access and single pass product learning.


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