Doughnut maker opts for Fortress failsafe protection 19 June 2019

Investment in four Stealth Metal Detectors from Fortress Technology has underpinned an expansion programme for North American bakery company, Doughnut Peddler. The presence of metal detectors has enabled the doughnut producer to elevate its lines to top food safety standards, meeting Good Manufacturing Practice requirements and winning the confidence of new retail customers.

As with America, the European doughnut market is experiencing growth, with specialty retail outlets and bakeries the primary distribution channels. In the space of three years, Doughnut Peddler has gone from being a single-bakery operation servicing a single state, to a multi-site enterprise supplying retailers across nine North American states.

“We always strive for perfection in terms of efficiency, food safety and quality. We want to hit the highest industry standards and make sure we protect our customers and end-consumers with a safety programme they are confident in. Metal detection adds another layer of ‘failsafe’ protection,” explains Jason Yada, national director of sales at Arizona-based Doughnut Peddler. “We’ve seen a snowball effect in the last three years. Once our customers see what we are capable of, they want to work with us in other territories. We’ve been firing on all cylinders to meet this growth.”

To keep pace with demand, 2017 saw the opening of two new bakeries - in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Doughnut Peddler opened two further sites last year, in Orlando, Florida and Houston, Texas. The company is now making more than 800,000 deliveries each year, transporting over 60 million doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, apple fritters and other freshly baked goods, to convenience stores across North America.

The company had always wanted to invest in metal detection, but needed a business justification for the investment. This rapid expansion provided the opportunity and the commercial case needed.

“We looked at various options and suppliers, gathered quotes and asked colleagues in the industry to share their experiences. We received positive feedback from everyone who had owned a Fortress unit – no-one had anything negative to say about them,” recalls Doughnut Peddler’s Jon Dairman, senior operation manager for Procurement.

Doughnut Peddler’s brief, in terms of what it wanted from its metal detectors, was straightforward. “Just to detect metal. We didn’t want any bells and whistles, just something reliable – I wanted it not to be an issue, to be able to set it and forget it,” says Dairman.

From a metal detection perspective, the project wasn’t entirely straightforward. Doughnuts come out of the fryer and onto a 12ft cooling conveyor made from high temperature belting. Doughnut Peddler wanted to mount the detectors at this point, as it provides the last opportunity to check the doughnuts before they are packed into plastic trays that sit in metal baskets. However, the combination of high temperatures and moisture creates a ‘product effect’ that can confuse metal detection equipment, as it cannot discriminate between this and actual metal contamination. This can result in frequent false rejects being triggered.

With Doughnut Peddler’s lines running continuously at speeds of 160 doughnuts per minute, the company could not entertain the possibility of false rejects disrupting production. Fortunately, the Fortress Stealth metal detectors were able to achieve reliable performance on this product.

The digital signal processing technology – a technical platform that drives the detector - provides high-speed detection, while the dual frequency operation facilitates automatic compensation for extreme product characteristics. All the processing power is contained on one board. One of the technical Fortress features - FM Software – is also said to enhance the detector’s performance and stability. These technical and mechanical features ensure that signals, due to mechanical, electrical, airborne and product, are cancelled out or eliminated.This allows the detector to effectively identify signals created by the three types of metals Ferrous, Non-Ferrous and 300 Series Stainless Steel, overcoming the risk of false rejects.

Four full conveyor Stealth systems are installed on lines in the company’s North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida bakeries. States Yada: “We are already seeing that having enhanced product protection in place has the potential to unlock different customers. Some of the potential customers we are reaching out to are even more encouraged in working with us as they learn of our use of the robust metal detection HACCP plan we have in place.”

Adam Offord

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