A Quick Metal Detector Turnaround Gets Mushroom Maker Back Online

When a legacy metal detection system went down and brought production with it, Sunny Dell Foods was able to get back in operation with a brand new system in just 36 hours.

Picture this: A key piece of equipment goes down on a weekday morning. It’s an old system with no parts available, so it’s no longer serviceable. But without it, your production can’t run. How quickly can you get a new system in place?

It’s a scenario that no plant manager hopes to face. But thankfully, when Oxford, Pa.-based Sunny Dell Foods faced this very situation when an older metal detector went down on a USDA-certified line, the family-owned private label and custom recipe provider of high-quality marinated and refrigerated mushrooms was operating again in 36 hours with a new liquid line metal detector back in place.

When Sunny Dell Foods owner Cary Caligiuri called his Eriez sales representative with PennQuip in Ambler, Pa., Steve Hilliard told him that Eriez had a unit ready to go as part of its Quick Ship Program. Caligiuri was so desperate to get his line back up and running, he made the 12-hour roundtrip drive to Eriez himself the next morning to pick up the equipment. “I wanted to keep my employees working and we needed to provide USDA-level performance now to be able to ship,” Caligiuri says.

Hilliard was on-site at Sunny Dell to get the metal detector set up when Caligiuri returned. “Eriez and PennQuip, together with the Sunny Dell team, kept me running,” Caligiuri says. “Steve Hilliard was there to set up and calibrate the unit. I couldn’t be happier. In 36 hours, we were back in operation.”

Hilliard, whose been a sales rep of Eriez equipment for 30 years, is capable of servicing, setup, training, calibration and validation. “The majority of our reps are capable of that,” Hilliard says.

Detection standards

At Sunny Dell, mushrooms used in both canning and freezing operations are subjected to repeated inspections as they pass through the plant. Quality checks include can seam tear downs, drained weights, microbiological tests, color, texture, uniformity of size, symmetry and flavor. The producer has four standard Eriez Xtreme Metal Detectors and one liquid line unit located prior to packaging the hot product.

Eriez metal detection products combine a precision mechanical design with state-of-the-art electronics, multiple frequency range, vibration immunity and complex algorithms to detect the smallest metals. “The auto-set-up on the Xtreme Metal Detector is easy to use,” Caligiuri says. “All you do is tighten up the rectangle on the Xtreme’s monitor and you know you will spot impurities.”

Set-up and verification of the Eriez Xtreme metal detector are easy to complete directly on the system.Set-up and verification of the Eriez Xtreme metal detector are easy to complete directly on the system.Eriez

Caligiuri has learned that investing in a metal detector can safeguard against machinery damage, production downtime and loss of product quality. Metal detectors are the last line of defense for detection of contaminants. “Considering the importance placed on this equipment, it is easy to understand the heavy compliance standards surrounding the operation of this equipment in food processing applications,” Caligiuri says.

Sunny Dell had planned to add a line to its operations this year, but that’s been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hilliard says. “They’re still planning on doing it, but probably next year,” he explains. And when that line is set up, Caligiuri promises to get only Eriez metal detectors. “There are older ones that need to be replaced, too,” Hilliard adds. “Maybe sooner rather than later.”

 

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