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Emco Industrial Plastics is one of the leading distributors of plastics in North America. We maintain an extensive selection of engineering, high-performance, and commodity plastic materials in sheet, rod, tube, profile, film, and other forms to suit various industries and industrial applications. For example, we offer metal detectable plastics for use in the food production and packaging industry.

What Are Metal Detectable Plastics?

In the food production and packaging industry, the primary goal is making and delivering products that are high-quality, healthy, and safe for consumers. Achieving this goal necessitates the implementation of rigorous quality control measures to prevent the contamination of food products.

One of the most common sources of food contamination is broken or worn equipment parts. During production and packaging operations, broken or worn equipment carries a high risk of small pieces of material separating from the larger assembly and mixing with the food products. If left undetected and unmanaged, the foreign material degrades the quality of the food and poses a health and safety risk to consumers. Many industry professionals utilize metal detectable plastics for their tools and equipment to prevent these issues from occurring.  

As suggested by the name, metal detectable plastics can be picked up by metal detectors. They contain special additives that allow the sensitive instruments to determine and indicate whether they are present in a targeted area. As a result, food production and packaging companies can use metal detectors to check for their presence in food products.

Applications of Metal Detectable Plastics

Metal detectable plastics are primarily utilized in parts and products for the food production and packaging industry. For example:

  • Food processing equipment components, such as mixing paddles
  • Material handling equipment components, such as conveyor chains and material hoppers
  • Food measurement tools, such as hand scoops and measuring cups
  • Food manipulation products, such as cutter, shovels, scrapers, forms, and molds
  • Food packaging and storage equipment, such as pallets

They allow industry professionals to utilize metal detectors to reduce the risk of food being contaminated with plastic from broken or worn tools and equipment. Additionally, they help reduce item weight and/or noise emissions compared to metal components.

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Types of Metal Detectable Plastics

At Emco Industrial Plastics, we distribute a variety of metal detectable plastics from reputable manufacturers. Our material offerings include:

Metal Detectable Acetal. These copolymer acetal materials contain metal detectable additives that allow their presence in food products to be traced using conventional metal detection systems. They exhibit good mechanical strength, stiffness, and stability and feature a composition that is compliant with food contact standards. The brands we supply are:  

  • Acetron® MD. Acetron MD is a wear-resistant material that is fully metal detectable to pieces that are greater than 27 mm3. It offers a unique combination of light material weight, chemical resistance, and suitability for wet/moist environments. It has proven performance in meat and poultry processing and dairy and cheese production facilities.
  • Sustarin® C MDT. Sustarin C MDT demonstrates the characteristics of standard acetal materials with the added benefit of better machinability and dimensional stability. It is available in stock rods ranging from 1/4 to 8 inches in diameter and stock sheets ranging from 3/8 to 4 inches in thickness.
  • Unital® SFX-0102M. Unital SFX-0102M comes in rod and sheet form. It is available in multiple plate and rod configurations by customer request. However, minimum order quantities may apply depending on the configuration.

Metal Detectable Polyurethane. These polyurethane materials contain metal detectable additives to facilitate tracing in food production and processing lines. The brands we supply are: 

  • Hydex® 4101 UD. Hydex 4101 UD is an ultra-detectable polyurethane material designed for use in the food processing industry. It is detectable by all three detection systems—i.e., metal detectors, X-ray detectors, and optical inspection systems. In addition to the physical characteristics of all polyurethane materials, it offers excellent resistance to chlorine-based and caustic cleaning compounds. It is available in stock sheets ranging from .031 to .25 inches in thickness and 2 feet by 4 feet in size.

Metal Detectable Nylon. These nylon materials are compliant with FDA and 3-A Sanitary standards. Key properties include good wear and fatigue resistance, low moisture absorption properties, and suitability for continuous use in temperatures up to 85° F. The brands we supply are:

  • Nylatron® MD. Nylatron MD exhibits good mechanical strength, stiffness, and resistance to impact and wear. It is detectable by metal detection, X-ray detection, and optical detection systems. It is available in stock sheets ranging from 3/8 to 4 inches in thickness and stock rods that are 30, 50, or 80 mm in diameter.  

Metal Detectable UHMW. These ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene materials are a cost-effective solution for applications that require high impact resistance. They have a high coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE), medium dimensional stability, and good performance in cryogenic applications. The brands we supply are:

  • Tivar® MD. Tivar MD is detectable by metal detectors but not X-ray detectors. It is available in stock gray sheets ranging from 3/8 to 4 inches in thickness.
  • Polystone® M XDT. Polystone M XDT is detectable by metal detectors and X-ray detectors. It can be traced in food materials in pieces as small as 3 mm3 using standard metal detection systems. It is available in sheet and rod form.

Metal Detectable PTFE. These PTFE materials are detectable by metal detectors, X-ray detectors, and optical scanners. They are blue in color and FDA and EC 10/2011 approved.

Metal Detectable PEEK. These PEEK materials offer excellent chemical, temperature, and wear resistance. The brands we supply are:

  • Tecapeek® UD. Tecapeek UD is an ultra-detectable plastic. It can be picked up by metal detection, X-ray detection, and optical scanning systems. It is available in sheet and rod form.

In addition to distributing metal detectable plastics, we offer custom-manufactured parts made from metal detectable plastics. We can create components from acetal, nylon, PEEK, and UHMW. Our manufacturing services include engineering, material selection assistance, precision fabrication and CNC machining, in-process quality inspection, and final part testing. We can achieve tolerances of ±.005 inches in small and intricate parts to large parts.

Emco Plastics is Your Premier Distributor!

Throughout the years, the food production and packaging industry has increasingly accepted engineering plastics as a replacement for metals due to their ability to improve production speed and/or accommodate longer production cycles. This positive trend has led to rising demand for and, consequently, the development of better and safer plastics. Metal detectable plastics allow the industry to make the change from metal to plastic components without worrying about whether they can accurately and precisely determine if and when pieces of material break off and mix with food products.

To learn more about metal detectable plastics or our material offerings, contact us today.  

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Applications of Metal Detectable Plastics

Types of Metal Detectable

Metal Detectable Acetal

This copolymer acetal grade, containing a metal detectable additive, has been specifically tailored for use in the food processing and packaging industries where it can easily be traced by the conventional metal detection systems installed to detect contamination of the foodstuffs (results may vary depending on the sensitivity of the metal detection system used).

Metal Detectable Acetal
Acetron MD

This acetal grade copolymer, containing a metal detectable additive, has been specifically tailored for use in the food processing and packaging industries where it can easily be traced by the conventional metal detection systems installed to detect contamination of the foodstuffs (results may vary depending on the sensitivity of the metal detection system used). Acetron MD presents good mechanical strength, stiffness and impact strength, and it also features a food contact compliant composition.

Acetron MD
Hydex 4101 UD

Hydex® 4101 UD blue has been specifically designed for the demanding environment of the food processing industry. For several years, the industry has been moving towards materials used in equipment design that are detectable in some way; either visually, by metal or x-ray detection, in order to improve food safety, and reduce the possibility of product contamination.

Hydex 4101 UD
Metal Detectable Nylon

Metal Detectable Filled Nylon presents good mechanical strength, stiffness, impact strength and wear resistance, it also features a food contact compliant composition, FDA compliant and 3A-Sanitary-Dairy-Standard approved.

Metal Detectable Nylon
Nylatron MD

This polyamide 6 grade, containing a metal detectable additive, has been specifically tailored for use in the food processing and packaging industries where it can easily be traced by the conventional metal detection systems installed to detect contamination of the foodstuffs (result may vary depending on the sensitivity of the metal detection system used).

Nylatron MD
Metal Detectable UHMW PE

Metal Detectable UHMW PE offers a lightweight, chemical and impact resistant, FDA compliant and metal detectable option. It delivers increased value resulting in longer production cycles, reduced contamination of food, lower maintenance, and operating costs.

Metal Detectable UHMW PE
Metal Detectable Parts

Acetal is a rigid, strong material that is available in copolymer and homopolymer compounds. Its properties include low moisture absorption, good chemical resistance and good dimensional stability

Metal Detectable Parts
POLYSTONE M XDT

Polystone® M XDT has proven to be detected with a particle size as small as a 3mm cube. Running at speeds as fast as 250 feet-per-minute, this product can be detected and automatically sorted to a product hold area for further inspection. It works effectively with various types of packaging including metal cans, plastic and composite containers and glass jars.

POLYSTONE M XDT
Metal Detectable PTFE

Metal Detectable PTFE
Unital SFX-0102M

Unital® SFX-0102M extruded thermoplastic shapes provide users with the strength and dimensional stability inherent in POM-based resins as well as enhanced stiffness provided by the addition of a metallic filler. Unital® SFX-0102M shapes offer low extractables for applications requiring FDA compliance and are especially well suited for metal detection in fodd processing applications.

Unital SFX-0102M
Sustarin C MDT

Sustarin® C MDT offers a solution to many food processing and packaging applications. Most of the food products that we consume every day come into contact with different machines during the manufacturing and packaging processes. If just a small part or component from any one of those machines finds its way into the food there can be serious health risks.

Sustarin C MDT
Tecapeek® UD

TECAPEEK Ultra Detectable (TECAPEEK UD Blue) was created with the food processing industry in mind because of its ability to withstand high heat and steam. Although, Tecapeek UD is also a good choice for other industries. In the food processing industry where food recalls have been an increasing problem, TECAPEEK UD blue offers the advantage of detectability by all three typical food product inspection technologies (optical, metal, x-ray detection) built right into one product.

Tecapeek® UD

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