J.O. Spice Company is a family-owned manufacturer of crab and seafood seasonings. At their start in 1945, the original husband-and-wife team commercialized recipes that were handed down through generations. Now a fourth-generation company, they continue to achieve success by supplying excellent products at reasonable prices. To help ensure final product quality, J.O. Spice installed a new Signature Touch metal detector from Mettler-Toledo Safeline in 2017.
“Before we bought our first metal detector almost ten years ago, we did our due diligence and considered multiple suppliers. We chose Mettler-Toledo Safeline because of their high quality equipment and outstanding reputation,” said Donald Ports, President of J.O. Spice and the grandson of the founders. “We purchased our first Safeline metal detector in 2009 and a second one in 2010. They’ve both operated great over the years. Our sales rep, Dick DeNenno from Reliant Packaging Machinery, is very knowledgeable and helped us select the new Signature Touch last year.”
J.O. Spice needed a new metal detector with a tall aperture as they prepare to set up a fully automated packaging line. With their old metal detector, boxes needed to be manually laid down on their side and then stood back up for palletizing. They selected a new Signature Touch with an aperture size of 14 inches wide and 20 inches tall, so 25 to 50 lb. bulk boxes and cases of retail packs can go through the system upright. “We have to send boxes through upright in order to automate the line. Although it’s not fully automated yet, we’re already saving time because we don’t have to lay boxes down and stand them back up,” noted Ports. “Those seconds accumulate and quickly pay for our new metal detector.”
At their facility in Baltimore, Maryland, J.O. Spice manufactures both private label and J.O. Spice branded products, which include seasonings, spices, batters, breadings and soup mixes for retail, foodservice and food processing customers. Products are packaged in film bags, plastic tubs, plastic bottles and corrugated boxes with liners in sizes ranging from 1 oz. to 75 lb.
“Equipment in our facility needs to be tough. Not only is it hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but the salt in our products also creates a harsh environment because salt is corrosive. The Signature Touch runs wonderfully thanks to its well-sealed electronics and wash-down capabilities,” said Ports.
Identifying both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, this system finds even the most difficult to detect non-magnetic stainless steel fragments and non-spherical fine wire. With high frequency advanced coil technology and state-of-the-art electronic filtering techniques, it maximizes detection sensitivity and minimizes false rejects.
“Our new metal detector is incredibly sensitive. It’s so sensitive, it’s able to spot the small amounts of naturally occurring metallic minerals in some of our spice blends, but it’s easy to account for this by simply selecting the proper setting on the touchscreen control panel,” explained Ports. “Recycled material in the corrugated cardboard is virtually always responsible for the occasional positive hit we do get. When we keep it calibrated, this metal detector never gives us a false reject.”
The Signature Touch enables up to 100 different products to be stored in memory for quick recall during changeovers, while the ‘product clustering’ capability minimizes the need to change these settings. A new product is easily added with the single-pass auto set-up routine.
J.O. Spice changes over its Signature Touch at least once a day to handle different products and/or package sizes. It takes only a few minutes to select the setting, run test strips and document the activity. To cover all 12 of their packaging lines, their three metal detectors are mounted on castor wheels and feature handles, which enable them to be easily moved.
“By having three mobile metal detectors, we know we will continue to seamlessly operate even if one goes down, which gives us peace of mind,” said Ports. “That said, the uptime on all three is outstanding, so this hasn’t been an issue. They’re completely dependable.”
“Our metal detectors help us sell the J.O. Spice name. They’re featured in our sales presentations and ‘Metal Detector and Q.C. Approved’ is stamped on all of our cases, which helps us stand out from our competitors since others don’t take metal detection as seriously as we do,” concluded Ports. “We’ve been at the top of our game for over 70 years, because we care deeply about our customers and the products we create. Our metal detectors are a very big part of how we protect our quality, the integrity of the J.O. Spice brand and our private label customers.”
About Mettler-Toledo Safeline
Mettler-Toledo Safeline is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mettler-Toledo Inc., a global supplier of precision instruments with sales and service locations in 37 countries. The Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection Division, which includes the companies CI-Vision, Safeline, PCE and Safeline, is an industry leader and innovator in the field of automated product inspection solutions with vision inspection, checkweighers, track-and-trace systems, metal detectors and x-ray inspection systems. Industries including food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, chemical and personal care use our solutions to continuously improve the quality of their products and improve the efficiency of their manufacturing and packaging processes.