Arevalo Safeguards Tortilla Quality with Metal Detection
Arevalo Foods offers one of the largest selections of tortillas in the world. This family-owned processor produces more than 3.5 million tortillas per day at their state-of-the-art facility in Montebello, CA, USA. To support their double digit growth over the past few years, Arevalo installed three of Mettler-Toledo Safeline’s Profile Advantage metal detectors to help protect their final product quality.
“We started researching new metal detectors when we won a nationwide account that required detection levels far beyond regulatory requirements,” said Alex Arevalo, President of Arevalo Foods. “Tortillas are especially challenging products for most metal detectors, since they often have high temperatures and a moisture content above 30 percent. Another challenge is the wide range of retail and bulk package sizes that we need to inspect on each line.”
“We wanted to work with Mettler-Toledo, because we have other metal detectors from them and they’re fantastic,” said Daniel Arevalo, Vice President of Arevalo Foods. “The Profile Advantage systems have everything we need – reliability, sanitary design, ease of use and, of course, sensitivity and accuracy. Initially, we purchased two of these systems and were so impressed that we ordered a third. Now we’re planning to replace all our older metal detectors.”
The Profile Advantage is a premium solution that identifies and rejects every type of metal in even the most difficult applications. It excels at discerning changes due to the presence of metal versus changes within the product by using multi-simultaneous frequencies to create a reference point. This advanced feature maximizes sensitivity when inspecting all kinds of products, while virtually eliminating false rejects.
Each of Arevalo’s three Profile Advantage systems inspects a different type of tortilla: heat-pressed, die-cut and hand-stretched. Between 6 and 14 inches in size, the tortillas are packed in 4- to 30-count bags as well as bulk packages. Metal detection is the final step before case packing.
“Production flexibility is especially important to us. In addition to producing the three main types of corn and flour tortillas, we have organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and flavored options. We also make pre-cut chips and strips, gluten-free pizza crusts and fully-topped pizzas,” explained Alex Arevalo. “Given all of our products, it’s not unusual for us to changeover our lines as often as four or five times in a single shift.”
Offering excellent versatility and ease of use, the Profile Advantage can store up to 100 different recipes for fast recall during changeovers and features a ‘product clustering’ capability that reduces the need for setting changes. When running a brand new product, the single-pass auto set-up routine quickly analyzes it, determines the ideal settings and stores the data in the system’s memory.
“The recipe-driven programming is one of our favorite things about these metal detectors. It takes only a couple of minutes to add a totally new product and a minute to select a pre-programmed recipe,” said Alex Arevalo. “The recipes also reduce false rejects by ensuring the proper settings are selected every time. Because we don’t rework products, any false rejects mean lost yield and a waste of our time and money.”
To reliably remove rejected packages of all shapes and sizes from the line, Mettler-Toledo customized Arevalo’s reject systems with an automatic ‘arm’ that pushes the package off the line, as well as an alert light and an alarm. To verify the removal of any rejects, sensors monitor the infeed and outfeed, the path of rejected packages and more. Arevalo also selected optional lockable bins to hold rejected packages, so only authorized QA personnel can access them for analysis and disposal. “Our sales rep, Freddy Garcia at Pacific Packaging & Inspection, was a big help in identifying the perfect metal detectors for our needs, including the customized reject systems,” noted Daniel Arevalo.
“Ease of cleaning is another big reason why we chose the Profile Advantage. In particular, the flour in our facility is abrasive to electrical components, which can be tough on equipment,” said Alex Arevalo. “Our metal detectors are incredibly reliable and have stood up great in this harsh environment.”
“Since our father started Arevalo Foods 34 years ago, we’ve seen the food processing industry focus more and more on product quality. Our Profile Advantage systems go far beyond regulatory requirements. They give us peace of mind that we’re only putting out the very best products and protecting our brand, private label customers and consumers,” concluded Daniel Arevalo. “In a way, these metal detectors are our last line of defense – they’re a cornerstone in our food safety program. We couldn’t be happier with them.”