Canadian confectionery producer Chewters Chocolates has invested in product inspection technologies to raise its packaging line competence to world-class levels. Chewters Chocolates has undertaken a project to automate its production and packaging lines, helping to make it more productive and efficient.
To reach these high standards, the company has invested in new checkweighing, metal detection, and X-ray product inspection systems from Mettler-Toledo. “We are trying to become a world-class facility,” explains Chewters Chocolates’ project engineer Arjan Cheema. “Mettler-Toledo equipment is the industry standard. Chewters relies on their equipment to achieve precision on the weights of our bags – we are looking to eliminate any deviations greater than one gram, depending on the package. The metal detection and X-ray systems help us to avoid false rejections associated with our packing lines,” concludes Cheema.
More demand, more capacity
The company’s 55,000 square foot production and packaging facility in Delta, British Columbia, is now a highly automated operation. It is capable of hitting 15,000 metric tonnes of production per year, with the recent transition to a third shift that will allow it to run 24 hours, 5 days a week for every week of the year.
All of this will help Chewters to pursue its target of aggressively growing retail sales with products that it believes really stand out in the market. Its all-natural ChocXO brand, Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, and organic 85% dark chocolate ChocKeto Snaps are intended to fill a gap for low-sugar, high-quality chocolates with no additives. The products taste less bitter than most dark chocolate, as Chewters has focused on the nutty and fruity flavor of the cacao beans that make up 85% of the chocolate’s content. With a customer base including some of the largest wholesalers and retail chain stores in North America, and with Covid-19 having seen increased demand for its products from consumers stuck at home, there was a need to keep up with demand. This is why the company is focusing on optimizing its operation in every respect.
Food safety platform
To keep up with demand, Chewters reached out to Mettler-Toledo, which in turn recommended its Canadian distributor, Shawpak Systems. Shawpak’s president, Nigel Turnpenny, took up the challenge and put together a food safety platform that includes five Mettler-Toledo checkweighers to ensure products meet the right specification. They also added four metal detection systems and one X-ray inspection machine to identify contaminants in products and packaging.
“Nigel was very knowledgeable,” says Arjan Cheema. “He really helped integrate the Mettler-Toledo products into our lines. The pre-sales experience for Chewters was exceptional, he adds, “They were very timely and very professional. Nigel has always been there to assist and retrofit any new equipment. On the Mettler-Toledo equipment, getting it on time was huge for us – we had no delays in the commissioning of our lines.”
Following the installation, the after-sales service from Mettler-Toledo has also been impressive, according to Cheema. “If I have any problems or need any calibration done, they will have a technician here within a couple of days, making sure everything is running efficiently.”
On each of Chewters Chocolates’ three production and packaging lines, the Mettler-Toledo product inspection equipment is said to be performing a vital role, ensuring that the packaged products that leave the factory are free of contaminants and therefore safe for consumers to eat.
Multiple Profile LS conveyorized metal detection systems are installed at critical control points to inspect molded chocolates for any metal contamination that may have been introduced before or during the molding process.
Mettler-Toledo’s X33 X-ray system adds a key layer of quality control. The X33 delivers outstanding contamination detection of foreign bodies such as glass, metal, stone, and high-density plastics, even for products wrapped in aluminium foil or metalized film, says Cheema. He explains, “The X33 measures density, which allows the machine to scan through metalized films to determine if there has been any contamination inside any of the bagging or wrapping processes. This additional step was implemented to ensure quality control.”
Future upgrades at the Chewters facility will also incorporate Mettler-Toledo’s product inspection equipment, with Cheema saying that the company will “fully standardize” to this proven technology.
“Inspections are a crucial step in our production,” he concludes. “We are confident that we can rely on Mettler-Toledo to help us produce the safest and highest-quality chocolate.”