Phoenix Formulation’s new manufacturing facility is state-of-the-art from top to bottom. By applying innovative techniques and the latest technologies, including high-end equipment from Mettler Toledo’s Product Inspection Group, Phoenix delivers premium custom-formula nutraceuticals. They rely on four Safeline metal detectors, three Safeline x-ray systems and five Hi-Speed checkweighers to help ensure final product quality and safety.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years – Mettler-Toledo is truly the gold standard,” said Kirk Neal, President of Phoenix. “That said, we did our due diligence when designing our new facility. We looked at multiple suppliers for inspection equipment and considered detection sensitivity, as well as price and service. Mettler-Toledo gave us all that and more. Their systems are consistent and reliable.”
“Our customers also recognize the Mettler-Toledo name and associate it with superior technology. As a manufacturer of private label nutraceuticals, that connection is very valuable,” noted Neal. “Since many brand owners use several contract manufacturers, it’s crucial that we have an exceptional track record. Our world-class equipment helps establish and maintain our status as a trusted supplier.”
Phoenix launched in 2015, bringing together an accomplished team with close to 200 years of combined manufacturing experience in the nutraceutical industry. With a wide variety of products that includes energy drink mixes and meal replacements, Phoenix fills their powders, capsules and tablets into jars, gusseted bags, composite cans, single serve pouches, stick packs and bulk containers on eight packaging lines.
On the lines filling packages containing foil, where a metal detector would be ineffective, Phoenix relies on X33 x-ray inspection systems to detect dense foreign material including all types of metal. The X33 is Mettler-Toledo’s next generation x-ray solution, featuring the same outstanding detection sensitivity as the SmartCheck and AdvanCheck models but with reduced power consumption. Utilizing a 20-watt x-ray generator instead of the 100-watt generator used on earlier systems, the X33 consumes five times less power to minimize operating costs.
“The main purpose of our x-ray systems is to eliminate potential metal contamination from reaching consumers. The equipment reliably identifies the small pieces of metal that we’re looking for. We confirm consistent sensitivity by running test strips through several times a day,” said Chad Hill, Maintenance Director. “Overall, these are great looking machines that make a strong impression when customers walk through our plant. The reduced energy use is a nice bonus.”
On lines that fill packages with no foil, Phoenix installed PowerPhasePRO metal detectors. Featuring high-performance triple frequency operation and an advanced ‘product clustering’ capability, PowerPhasePRO maintains the highest sensitivity while accommodating a wide variety of products with no operator intervention during changeovers. A ‘Faraday Screen,’ located between the detector coil system and the product being inspected, filters out interfering signals to reduce false rejects.
“Our Safeline metal detectors protect our product quality while easing use and giving us the production flexibility that we need,” explained Hill. “These systems help maintain our high productivity and performance standards.”
Phoenix uses XE3 checkweighers, which automatically detect and reject under- and over-weight packages, to monitor fill levels on their gusseted bag line and verify the correct count of multipacks on four other lines. With an accuracy of +/- 200 mg, these premium checkweighers use electromagnetic force restoration (EMFR) weigh cells instead of more common strain gauge load cells. EMFR technology ensures sustained accuracy over long periods of time and minimizes weighing errors caused by changes in temperature and humidity.
“Our checkweighers are really accurate and simple to operate. The user interface on the XE3 has a large color touchscreen and a dashboard layout that reduces training requirements and helps improve line performance,” said Hill. “We started with one and were so happy with it that we bought four more.”
“Overall, we’ve had a great experience with Mettler Toledo. Their technicians are helpful and customer service has been very attentive,” said Hill. “Our sales rep, Michael Vaughn at Southwest Equipment Group, has been here for us at every step.”
“We measure the success of our inspection equipment based on consistent detection sensitivity, uptime and ease of use. The most important thing is the response we get from customers about our products,” concluded Neal. “These systems support our commitment to producing the highest quality nutraceuticals.”
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