In the food processing industry, metal contamination has the potential to present serious harm to your brand. Fortunately, having the right inspection technology in place in your food processing or packaging line can alleviate the problem. While all metals can be detected by metal detection equipment, the ease of detection is dependent on how easily the metal is magnetized and the metal’s electrical conductivity.
Ferrous contamination is both magnetic and a good electrical conductor, and therefore is easily detected. Most metal detectors are able to detect small ferrous particles. Non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, copper and lead are non-magnetic but are good electrical conductors. They are generally quite easy to detect. Stainless steel comes in many different grades, some magnetic and totally non-magnetic. Their conductivity varies depending on the grade. In the food processing industry, 304 and 316 are the two most-common grades. Poor sensitivity to these grades can be a major limitation of many modern metal detectors, especially those not capable of operating at high frequency. When inspecting wet, electrically conductive products, detecting stainless steel becomes even more difficult.