As part of its Digital Transformation Toolkit and Food Safety Cultural Playbook unveiling at PPMA TOTAL 2022, Fortress Technology reveals its newest digital reporting feature – Contact 4.0. Uncovering ‘real time’ production trends and patterns, the company’s latest software release can now collect QA documentation automatically and securely oversee the performance of an unlimited number of Fortress metal detectors, x-rays, checkweighers and combination machines connected on the same network.

In the digital data stack, tethering multiple front-end production machines to back-end reporting software in real time is a key step towards implementing AI and the future Smart Factory concept. Decoupling automated data logging and record keeping from legacy networks, Contact 4.0 utilises a web-based architecture to capture valuable production data from across an entire suite of networked Fortress inspection machines. Creating a centralised repository of live and recorded data that assists food processors to automate QA documentation and turning potentially massive data streams into tightly monitored operational insight.

Monitoring the performance of Fortress inspection equipment, Contact 4.0 enables food factories and processors to track events and documents all potential product risks. Eliminating many of the cumbersome functionality concerns enterprising companies usually encounter, including infrastructure, data storage, security and scalability.

Providing secure access via a web appliance and 24/7 monitoring of multiple units, Contact 4.0 is a networked connected device that increases the agility of food processors. Sitting on the same network as the metal detector, x-ray machine and/or checkweigher, Contact 4.0 compiles and communicates data events via the network connection. 

Storing data on the appliance itself, or optionally a network location specified by the end user, Contact 4.0 overcomes data science drudgery, exporting dashboards and generating meaningful reports. All of this can be saved for future reference to support product traceability, as well as being automatically emailed to QC and production managers to address time critical events and minimise machine downtime.

Ushering in smarter machine monitoring

Rather than react to production scenarios, Fortress customers with Contact 4.0 installed and communicating with digital Stealth and Interceptor metal detectors, plus the company’s new Raptor x-ray, checkweighers and combination systems, can view and extract time-stamped data reports whenever they want. Critically, reports are delivered in the format that is most closely aligned to each customers’ common reporting standards.

Being a web based interface, authorised users simply log into the browser from any networked device, including laptops and tablets. By creating this cohesive reporting system, production, QA and maintenance managers can troubleshoot a performance issue without having to be physically in front of the inspection equipment. Reports can be configured and emailed daily, per shift or weekly. Test failure or fault events trigger an email alert, detailing when an event occurred on a specific machine.

Commercial Manager Jodie Curry comments: “Manually monitoring food inspection machine performance can be extremely labour intensive and impact productivity. Automated and networked data extraction and real time monitoring are proven to enhance production efficiency and minimise machine downtime.”

Facilitating remote management of an unlimited number of metal detectors, x-ray machines and checkweighers within a company’s global IT network, Contact 4.0 provides a robust, simpler and safer way to rapidly stream and share performance data within the firewall of a business network. 

Fortress digital conveyor, gravity, pipeline and combination metal detectors, x-rays and checkweighers are equipped with optional machine sensors to further increase monitoring capability. The type of events captured by Contact 4.0 include faults relating to reject confirmation, and the status of bin doors, air pressure, infeed and encoders. 

When faults occur, email alerts are automatically circulated to production managers to address. Additionally, production personnel can use the ‘live view’ feature to observe data relating to average weights and giveaway across multiple Raptor checkweighers and combination machines connected across the network. 

Compliant with all international food safety management standards, including HACCP, BRC and GFSI/SQF, Contact 4.0 provides Fortress customers with an additional layer of security. 

Jodie adds: “For businesses with multiple data sources, web-based solutions like Contact 4.0 offer the level of flexibility and the middleware layer required to collate meaningful information from different platforms with minimal effort or human intervention.”

Event and machine performance information is stored securely for a minimum of 10 years, with the option to extend storage capacity to 20+ years. Data can be automatically transferred from the machine fleet to a centralised computer via a secure, password protected connection.

Contact 4.0 can be installed or retrofitted for a minimal fee on all the company’s digital Stealth, Interceptor and Interceptor DF metal detectors, as well as the Raptor Checkweigher, Raptor XL Caseweigher, Raptor X-Ray and Raptor Combination unit.


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