Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, a joint venture between Ehrmann USA and Commonwealth Yogurt, started up a new, state-of-the-art production facility at its headquarters in Brattleboro, Vt., in May 2011. Their filling lines, which produce yogurts for private label customers, are anchored with Osgood fillers and Mettler-Toledo Safeline’s SmartChek x-ray inspection systems to assure the highest level of food safety.
“We had the luxury of having a greenfield project. We took the opportunity to invest in the highest technology equipment, which is not typically found in the yogurt industry, so we could produce the highest quality product,” says Thomas Moffitt, chief executive officer of Commonwealth Dairy. “The Osgood fillers and Safeline x-ray inspection systems are examples of the extraordinary technology we rely on here to create superior quality yogurts.”
“We searched for flexible inspection equipment that could inspect the whole case as well as individual cups of yogurt. Metal detectors were not ideal because of the foil lidding on our cups. We needed x-ray systems,” says Ben Johnson, chief financial officer. “We looked at x-ray systems from three different manufacturers. We considered the supplier’s service, the technology’s capabilities and the price of the equipment, in that order. Based on this criterion, we chose Metter-Toledo Safeline and selected their SmartChek x-ray systems.”
“We work hard to take the highest precautions at every step,” Johnson adds. “The Safeline x-ray systems detect metal, glass and plastic. They’ll also detect a broken bit of pit from an apricot, peach or cherry, wood from the harvesting of strawberries and more. Basically, they recognize foreign objects by measuring the density of product and detecting differences or irregularities. Inspecting packaged product before it’s shipped gives us confidence that high-quality product is leaving our facility.”
“The Safeline x-ray systems exceed our expectations. We’re impressed with the systems’ sensitivity to detect the very small objects that we regularly run through as tests. We’ve had no unplanned downtime. And the systems are very easy to use,” Johnson says.
Commonwealth Diary operates its production lines 24 hours a day, five days a week. The lines are dedicated to producing 80-, 95- and 115-mm diameter cups, with changeovers to handle different cup volumes and a variety of yogurt flavors and types.
To ease changeover, the Safeline x-ray systems are preprogrammed with the necessary settings for each product. The operator simply enters the product code via the color touch-screen control panel and the accept/reject threshold for that product is defined. The SmartChek x-ray systems feature an auto-learn capability that constantly analyzes natural variations in the product to continuously achieve superior sensitivity throughout the production run.
“Our sales rep, Don Stewart of Flo-Dynamics [Elkhart, Ind.], was a determining factor in our selecting Mettler-Toledo Safeline. He took the initiative to show us what the equipment could do and how the company would stand behind it,” Johnson says. “The Safeline service technician did a fantastic job of setting up the systems, which wasn’t easy because we were still in construction mode.”
“Our choice of equipment is a reflection of the quality-conscious strategy that permeates everything we do,” adds Moffitt. “Our Osgood fillers and Safeline x-ray inspection systems help us achieve the highest quality standards.”
For more information on Commonwealth Dairy, go to www.commonwealthdairy.com. For more information on Mettler-Toledo Safeline’s x-ray inspection systems, go to www.mt.com/safelineus.