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Technologies > Audit and Certification

Firm harnesses neodymium power to prevent metal contamination

By Mark Astley , 29-Aug-2012

UK-based food inspection specialist S+S Inspection has harnessed the power of neodymium magnets to offer an easy to implement method of removing metal contaminants from liquid and paste product manufacturing lines.

LIQUIMAG – one of the firm’s latest innovations - uses an array of rare earth neodymium magnets to attract and hold even the smallest magnetic particles and even some grades of only-slightly magnetic stainless steel.

Neodymium magnets have a high flux density of 13,700 Gauss – making them one of the strongest types of permanent magnet available. The development uses six neodymium magnets. The magnets are housed in stainless steel tubes, on which the attracted metal contaminants are collected.

The technology was originally designed for use with liquids but it has proved equally effective with viscous products such as jam, chocolate spread, mustard, ketchup, pate, sausage meat and soup. 

The use of the permanent rare earth neodymium magnets eliminates the need for any form of power supply, allowing the LIQUIMAG to be installed in the most convenient and effective position on the production line.

As a result, it can be incorporated into any existing system, the company confirmed.

Safety and maintenance

According to S+S Inspection, metal particles as a result of processing machinery wear and tear are a major contamination risk.

S+S Inspection managing director Richard Lines told FoodProductionDaily.com that the LIQUIMAG innovation serves two main purposes – food safety and production equipment maintenance.

“The product has two main functions. The primary is food safety and the secondary is preventing damage to production equipment,” said Lines.

“Those bits of metal can damage food production equipment. Repairs and maintenance cost money.”

“It’s only function is to remove magnetic metal fragments from the production process and it’s very effective at doing that.”

The solid stainless steel development is fully compliant with all International Finance Corporation (IFC), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and British Retail Consortium (BRC) requirements, the firm added.

Easy to fit, easy to clean

LIQUIMAG is comprised of three pieces – a series of magnets, a set of stainless steel tubes and a positioning unit.

The neodymium magnetic rods are contained in the stainless steel tubes on which the attracted metal contaminants are collected. When cleaning is required, the magnets are simply removed from their tubes – which allow the contaminants to be easily removed from the tubes.

“It’s a cleaner design. It is designed to be much easier to clean contaminants from,” said Lines.

“To clean it, all you do is stop the product flow, release the clips and remove the magnets. Once the magnets are out, all the metal contaminants drop off the stainless steel tubes. It is as simple as that. No tools, no problems.”

“It is very easy to fit, and very easy to clean,” he added.

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