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Foreign Material Removal

From our own mechanical rock trap system to several electronic foreign material  technologies from our established network of vendors, we offer many options for your foreign material removal needs on your blueberry processing line.

The best FM removal strategy is a strategy that employs several foreign material removal steps.  Our customers that have been in the food processing industry the longest understand the importance of taking every step possible to make sure their products are safe.  They accomplish this by having several, redundant, foreign material removal steps on their processing lines. 

A Typical Equipment List For Effective Foreign Material Removal On A 12,000 Lb Per Hour  IQF Blueberry Line:

  1. Pre-freeze rock trap/destoner (to remove a high percentage of rocks, metal and other dense debris)
  2. Pre-freeze dewatering step (to flush out fine foreign material like sand, small pebbles and other debris and to provide fruit sanitation step)
  3. Pre-freeze vision sort  (primarily for color sorting but will also pick up some foreign material).  These are lower cost top down vision sorters so many packers will place 2 of our sorters back to back for further removal.
  4. Pre-freeze rare earth magnet on inspection conveyor (to remove any ferrous metals)
  5. Post-freeze foreign material sort with vision, laser or both (to remove plastic, glass and any other foreign material that looks different than a blueberry)
  6. Post-freeze, post final inspection metal detection or X-ray of fruit stream just prior to boxing or of the packed and sealed boxes.  X-ray will catch finer metals than a metal detector and any rocks and/or dense materials that may have eluded earlier foreign material removal steps on your blueberry line.


Mechanical Stone/Rock Trap: 

This is a simple, cost effective device that works very well for removing rocks and other dense FM (FM that is dense enough in water) from your blueberry pack.  Our Andgar rock trap system works as follows:

  1. The water is pumped from a recycling tank up a chamber and is evenly distributed over a chute/flume which is the same width as the processing line.
  2. The berries and any unwanted rocks ride the water over 2 notches that span the full width of the flume.
  3. The notches “trap” the rocks and dense debris while allowing the much lighter fruit to pass by.
  4. The berries then fall off the end of the flume onto a wire mesh dewatering conveyor.
  5. The wire mesh conveyor allows any other fines to flush through the belt and back into the tank (so it also acts as a washing/fines removal step for your berries).  

Other keys to our rock trap system:

  • The recycling tank has a very large input filter in it  to ensure that the pump does not cavitate due to clogging from fine debris (until the unit can be flushed and rinsed at regular 3-4 hr intervals during production). 
  • Often, a peroxygen or other food sanitizer will be sprayed on the fruit immediately after it lands on the wire mesh conveyor.
  • The excess sanitized water is diverted back into the tank to help the tank maintain its water levels while also sanitizing the tank water.
  • The system is also equipped with a water leveling valve as a further back-up step to keep the water level at the optimal running height.


Electronic Removal of Foreign Material with Vision and Laser:

Vision and Laser Sorting.  We work with the most reputable Vision and Laser sorting vendors to find a solution that matches your foreign material removal needs and your budget. 


Metal Detection and X-Ray:

Unless our customers are already working with a vendor, we exclusively recommend Safeline who we believe continues to be the leader in foreign material removal technology.  There may be less expensive options on the market, but none have the track-record or service and support network that Safeline has.  Our Safeline rep will work with you to establish a plan that achieves your goals within your budget.


Rare Earth Magnets:

Unless our customers are already working with a vendor, we exclusively work with Eriez who is the leader in magnet technology for processing lines for removal of ferrous metals.  Again, if you are looking for quality and industry proven performance, look no further than Eriez.  We regularly put Eriez equipment on our processing lines because we are confident that they are the best.

Please fee free to call us toll free: (888)437-2144 to discuss the foreign material removal strategy that will work best for your processing needs.