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Why Is Magnet Testing Important?

Equipment at dairy plant
Equipment at dairy plant

You’ve most likely heard the old adage, “nothing lasts forever,” and unfortunately, this reigns true for your magnetic separation equipment. Eventually, your magnets lose their strength, and you’ll need assessments to validate the performance of your equipment.

However, the intricacies behind magnet testing can be confusing, and you probably have a few questions, like:

  • Why does magnet testing matter in food processing?
  • What causes my magnets to lose their strength?
  • Why do I need annual validation assessments?

Food Processing and Magnetic Separation: Why it Matters

A magnetic separator is a stainless steel system that’s installed within your processing flow. In the food industry specifically, magnetic separators are usually installed inline, most often into the existing pipework.

As your food products flow past the magnet, foreign metal fragments are attracted and retained to the magnet’s surface. They’ll remain here until the magnet is cleaned by a plant operator, or undergoes an automatic cleaning cycle.

Essentially, for food processing, magnets ensure your product is safe from foreign contamination. It’s important to note if you neglect magnetic separation procedures, your end product could be contaminated with metallic particles, leading to:

  • Food recalls
  • Consumer safety risks
  • Damage to your brand’s reputation

What Impacts My Magnet’s Strength Scale?

It’s no secret magnets play a vital role in consumer safety. But unfortunately, with constant use, your magnets can lose their efficiency. In the food processing industry, equipment is exposed to various temperatures, environments, and products—all of which affect your magnet’s strength scale.

This loss of strength is referred to as “demagnetization”, and can be caused by the following factors:

  • Temperature
  • Oxygen absorption
  • Resonant vibration
  • Thermal shock
  • Rough handling (dropping or banging)

Once your equipment becomes demagnetized, it’s lost forever. You can’t simply “recharge” your magnets like you can with a battery. That’s why frequent magnet testing is so important, as it helps you keep track of your equipment’s performance.

Simply put, annual assessments enable you to identify and combat any complications with your magnetic separation equipment.

Struggling to control demagnetization? Don’t worry. Whether you need new equipment, testing, or an inspection, Magnattack® is here to lend a helping hand.

The filling machine pours beer into plastic PET bottles_

Why Do I Need Annual Magnet Testing and Equipment Assessments?

For food manufacturers to adequately combat metal contamination, they need to invest in annual surveys to confirm their magnets meet industry specifications, such as the:

  • FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA)
  • Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)
  • Safe Quality Foods Program (SQF)
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Luckily, magnet validation reporting helps your business stay compliant. By understanding the status of your magnets, you’ll be able to highlight areas of improvement, which makes it far easier to achieve maximum control over foreign metal contamination.

What’s Involved in Magnet Testing?

During annual validation assessments, a trained technician visits your facility to conduct the initial magnet inspection and collects essential data on your equipment’s efficiency.

Once audited, technicians begin their risk analysis in areas prone to high levels of metal contamination. During this phase, your inspector should work with your production schedule to minimize disruption.

They’ll assess your compliance with the HACCP International Food Safety Standard 0909MAGSEP 1-2010, using calibrated gauss meters to accurately identify the current strength of your magnet.

Following your audit, the data will be reviewed by third-party metal fragment control experts. This information is compiled and presented to you in a HACCP-Certified Magnet Validation Report.

How Do Magnet Validation Reports Benefit My Business?

It’s crucial to note that Magnet Validation Reports contain more than just a simple strength reading. These assessments encompass detailed information on the status of your metal fragment controls, including:

  • Inspection reports of each magnet
  • Expert advice on controlling your hazards and reducing risks of metal contamination
  • And, where required, generic recommendations for new and upgraded magnetic separation systems

Having a holistic overview of your magnet testing provides two key advantages. First, they ensure your magnetic separators:

  • Are designed to current industry standards
  • Are of specified strength
  • Are installed correctly and in appropriate locations
  • Provide maximum product stream coverage

Secondly, they help food production plants:

  • Reduce risks of metal contamination in the final product
  • Protect sensitive processing equipment
  • Reduce consumer complaints, brand name damage, food recall, and financial losses
  • Prepare your operation for upcoming plant audits and inspections
  • Comply with stringent quality assurance and industry standards

The Value of Professional Magnet Testing

Similar to your metal detectors and x-ray equipment, magnets play a critical role in food safety and contamination control in food processing.

However, in order to maintain maximum separation, magnets not only need to be the right strength, but also must be positioned correctly to accommodate the flow of your product.

That’s why you need an expert assessment, as it helps make sure your magnets are in the right location, properly configured, and retain foreign metal contamination.

Enter Magnattack®. We’ve partnered with Active Magnetics Research (AMR Consulting) to identify and reduce the risk of metal fragment contamination in food processing facilities.

AMR is regarded as an industry-leader in coordinating magnet validations, and has extensive experience in metal fragment control system design, testing, and analysis.

Schedule Your Magnet Validation Assessment With Magnattack®

Looking to improve product purity, and in return, the overall safety of your food? Good news—you’re in the right spot. Start a conversation with our experts, and ask about our magnet testing assessments.

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