Italian supplier Lati said it has developed an injection mouldable compound on the back of a request from a leading pasta manufacturer for a food contact compliant and lightweight plastic alternative to costly stainless steel food ingredient handling units.
And the Milan headquarter compound supplier said that its new MDT grades for injection moulded storage container applications reduce food contamination risk because, opposed to existing compounds featuring traditional ferromagnetic fillers, they are detectable by any kind of metal detectors.
Small chunks and parts, potentially arising out of breakage of the MDT compound derived container due to wear and tear or rough handling on the factory floor, can in fact be easily tracked and traced thanks to the homogeneous dispersion of active fillers achieved during the extrusion process, added the supplier.
“The detectability is due to the powder filler in the MDT compound being sensitive to magnetic fields, which causes a disturbance and thus creates a current in the coil of a metal detector,” explained Luca Bosca, technical service manager at Lati, who added that the grades contain no carbon or steel fibres, graphite or carbon black.
“As well as ensuring greater portability of the units within the facility, food processors would generate considerable cost savings by switching from stainless steel to MDT grade containers for the storage of flour and other food processing ingredients.
And, unlike in the case of thermoplastic extruded with steel fibres, the MDT grade units will not produce fibre particulates over time, due to the fact that the filler is embedded into the plastic,” he said.
Bosca told FoodProductionDaily.com that the novel compounds adhere to food contact standards but he stressed they are still undergoing tests and are not yet commercially available.
However, he pointed out that Lati is offering a consultancy service to speed up their commericalisation.
"We are awaiting requests from food processors based anywhere in Europe and we can act as the main contact point between them and injection moulding and tool cutter companies to discuss the development of MDT grades for specific applications, based on suitable base resin, adequate fillers and correct colours," added Bosca.