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Troubles with metal detector!

metal detector advice calibration servicing

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#1 LDG_Honey

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 06:08 PM

Hi all,

 

I am officially out of option, so I turn myself to the wisdom of the internet for help.

 

 

TLDR: In my opinion, our metal detector is beyond recoverability and my boss is refusing to accept it.

 

First, let me set the context:

 

The equipment in question is a Göring-Kerr DSP-3 built in 2004.

Bought used and installed somewhere in the last 10+ years.

Was initially setup for dry product, currently used for wet product.

 

Now, for the events:

 

A month ago, it was slightly pushed by a careless lift driver. 

We did a general checkup and called our technician for recalibration, as it is required. He wasn't available for a few weeks.

This wasn't a problem as the MD was behaving normally, so we accepted to wait a little bit.

Then, one fateful day, it beeped as if was detecting a huge chunk of metal ceased to function with the following error message: Error 1 Search Heat Fault.

No response whatsoever. No signal, No detection, nothing.

It remained locked for two weeks, until the very morning our technician was there for calibration.

 

He found many problems with our MD:

1-Metal free areas aren't respected

2-Multiple conduction loops in the frame aren't welded, just bolted.

3-The ''wet'' mode isn't configured on the motherboard of the search head (missing capacitors)

4-The rollers weren’t properly insulated from the frame

5-Friction between the conveyor and the frame is bringing metallic dust in the search head

6-The switch for the conveyor should have a varistor installed

 

His 2 main recommendations were:

A- Call Thermofisher (who now owns Göring-Kerr) for servicing.

B- Replace our MD with a newer and better model.

We had every reason to believe our technician, as he used to be sub-contracted by Göring-kerr for servicing before Thermofisher bought them. He is literally the guy who installed the MD for us.

 

When our technician left, our MD was working again but soon got the search head fault again

We did some troubleshooting over the phone (test out some jumper settings, check all the fuses) and it suddenly worked again without apparent reason.

 

But my boss wasn’t happy with the service. Both options are costly and disrupting our production (yes we are still processing and packaging product without a functioning MD and my approval)

 

Instead, he called in a friend of his. The guy says owns a welding and general metalworking company. He did some jobs for another food company in our town who has ‘’like 7 MD’’.

He did some work for their MD and everything has always worked.

That company is a multi-million-dollar company across Canada and Northern US, employs hundreds of people in our town while we are a little bit over a dozen.

 

So, the guy come in and start checking the frame. He unscrews a few bolts and find out that it is bend out of shape, now he can’t put the bolts back in…

-Then he pushes the MD and change the height because there is ‘’friction’’ at the in and out of the conveyor

-Next, he starts messing with the product, the calibration settings and the metals standards, trying to figure out how the MD works.

I tried to show him how our MD worked and what was the problem, but he couldn’t care less.

-Then, he puts a tool on the conveyor and when the MD detects it, he goes to see my boss and tell him that he fixed it!

 

Of course, my boss believed that guy instead of a certified technician and his employee.

 

So here we are, over 30 days since the problems arose and our MD isn’t working properly:

-The frame is so horribly bent, that the conveyor is floating a few 3mm (1/32’’) above the Teflon bed of the head

-10% of the product triggers a reject because it either fell flat on the conveyor or it wobbles all the way through the head

-I am unable to detect my 2.5mm ferrous metal standard because of the background noise

-All the jar must be spaced +30cm (1ft) apart or they either trigger a reject or if I put a metal standard in the middle, they all go through without problem.

-Also, I believe that the left input coil isn’t working anymore.

 

If you managed to read through my 2 pages of rant, thank you.

 

What do you think my next course of action should be?

Please keep in mind that we are SQF 8.0 food safety certified and licensed by the CFIA.

 



#2 Dr.Khan

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 08:46 PM

simple solution is replace  it with newer model



#3 LDG_Honey

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:46 AM

simple solution is replace  it with newer model

 

See, the problem is that it is not within my power to decide and enact it. See below:

 

TLDR: In my opinion, our metal detector is beyond recoverability and my boss is refusing to accept it.

 

But my boss wasn’t happy with the service. Both options are costly and disrupting our production (yes we are still processing and packaging product without a functioning MD and my approval)

 

What I am asking for is how to convince my boss to take the decision.

Or, if anyone could provide a second opinion (as a professionnal)

Or, provide a test that I could use to demonstrate that the MD is indeed beyond repairability



#4 SpiceyQA

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:31 PM

Honestly I have no idea. But if I was in your situation I would try bringing the repercussions of metal getting through and to the customer. And the ensuing investigation bringing to light that you were running without a functioning metal detector and how bad that would look and the resulting fines for allowing a food safety situation to continue on without finding a resolution. 

I don't know the Canadian laws but in America that can lead to jail time. See the peanut butter incident in Georgia or a reference.



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:56 PM

To expand the previous Post.

 

I assume you are now unable to verify/document  the correct working of the MD.

 

Are you still producing ?

 

If so, does the MD process step represent a CCP in the haccp plan ?

 

If so, yr Company is soon going to have large SQF auditorial problems in addition to yr OP. This aspect may have more immediate impact on yr Upper Management.


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#6 LDG_Honey

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 01:13 PM

Honestly I have no idea. But if I was in your situation I would try bringing the repercussions of metal getting through and to the customer. And the ensuing investigation bringing to light that you were running without a functioning metal detector and how bad that would look and the resulting fines for allowing a food safety situation to continue on without finding a resolution. 

I don't know the Canadian laws but in America that can lead to jail time. See the peanut butter incident in Georgia or a reference.

 

Oh, yeah Jail time is absolutely a possibility. I just found a case where some guy was jailed 6 months and fined 15 000$ for a similar problem in animal feed.

Though it is nowhere near the Georgia peanut butter case.

 

 

Everything passes through a 150 mesh sieve and the filling nozzles would block most particles larger than a few millimeters.

However, there is still a point of access and mobile parts after the sieve.

 

For now, all I've found are metal beads embedded into the glass jar, but I can't rule out the possibility of finding metal shavings (in case of catastrophic failure of the pumps).

 

Records of detection weren't kept until I came along (1 year ago), so I can't really evaluate the risk based on history.

The MD was initially installed after a complaint that someone found a purse ring in one of the jars (the thing was roughly 4cm in diameter).



#7 LDG_Honey

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 01:23 PM

To expand the previous Post.

 

I assume you are now unable to verify/document  the correct working of the MD.

 

Are you still producing ?

 

If so, does the MD process step represent a CCP in the haccp plan ?

 

If so, yr Company is soon going to have large SQF auditorial problems in addition to yr OP. This aspect may have more immediate impact on yr Upper Management.

 

Yes we are still producing. I brought the issue in a management meeting but quickly got vetoed.

 

The MD is a CCP on the Retail line. Our bulk line has a different CCP.

 

this is partially why I need advice, because our upcoming audit is (unnanounced) due in november...

 

I need to know my options. On one side I want to keep my job, on the other, I don't want to be complicit in a negligent manufacture case...



#8 Slab

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 06:48 PM

Your company is both liable in civil/criminal courts for harm caused by (an excess in action levels) a lack of food safety controls legally mandated. Not entirely sure about Canadian law or your assigned responsibility, but signatories are normally required to report violations to proper authorities and initiate recalls. As of most recently in US courts (as mentioned PCA) there is a meat company in Connecticut where both owner and QC official are facing prison for the falsification of records.


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#9 majoy

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 07:39 PM

This is a very difficult position you're into especially with the upcoming unannounced audit.

 

Is metal detection a customer requirement? If yes, this could help you push it with the owner.

 

If not, I would make sure I document all my effort to convince the management to purchase or repair the metal detector - Cover your A** in case of a worst case scenario.

 

Do you use 2.0, 2.5 and 3mm test? you mentioned only the 2.5mm Fe is not detected? can you get a smaller or bigger mm Fe test to see if it will get detected? this will only cost a few bucks.

 

Can you try and do a metal detector challenge? collect all possible metal FM that can contaminate your product, various sizes (inc. previous items that was detected/rejected, pins, metal shavings, staple wire, zipper toggle, ball bearing, screws etc.), put it in your product and try to pass through the metal detector, note pass or fail, record it. This can be a study of what the machine can or can detect, you can use it to present to your management to convince, you can also use it just in case by the time of unannounced audit, the MD is still not replaced... (you did 'some' due diligence at least, effort right?)...

 

For CFIA, MD is an OPRP instead of a CCP, unless its a customer requirement that MD is a CCP.

 

But honestly, start looking for a new job, i wouldn't want to work for someone like you boss/owner. There is an on-going case of falsification of documents right now with CFIA and it involves the owner and highly like the QA too of the company... you will hear very soon that someone might be going to jail.


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#10 LDG_Honey

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 02:33 PM

Thank you everyone for the feedback.

My concerns are validated.

 

I will back my a** and then get outta here!







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