Increasingly stringent regulations and a growing number of sensors: The challenges and opportunities in testing solutions are comprehensive and evolving dynamically, spanning across various industries, including the food sector, where the motto of controlled quality holds true in many aspects.
Mesutronic GmbH, based in Kirchberg im Wald in Lower Bavaria, has been supplying customers around the world with innovative technology for metal detection and testing for over 30 years. The company is considered a technology leader in industrial metal and foreign object detection. Its sophisticated testing systems are used in a wide range of industries – from food and pharmaceuticals to hygiene, plastics, textiles and mining. The central product groups in Mesutronic’s range include metal detectors, metal separators, metal detection systems and X-ray equipment for protecting machines and systems from unwanted foreign objects. All systems are individually adapted to the customer’s requirements and meet the highest standards of quality and reliability. The medium-sized company thus more than lives up to its claim of “Metal Detection Made in Germany”.
Food under special observation
When it comes to food, the legislator and its inspection organizations take a particularly close look – and for good reason, as it concerns our health. And, of course, the producers themselves also attach great importance to regular, transparent and traceable quality control. The spectrum ranges from random visual, odor and taste checks by personnel to permanent sensor-based checks by specially developed high-tech inspection systems. The latter can be used to detect foreign bodies or contaminants, for example, so that the delivery of contaminated batches can be stopped immediately if necessary.
Mesutronic GmbH specializes in the development of such testing systems. Due to the constantly advancing technical development with more and higher resolution sensors including networking, the amount of data to be processed continues to increase. This also changes the requirements regarding the testing systems, which is especially true for the industrial PCs used. The development of future-proof solutions is therefore an ongoing task for the company.
Keeping pace with the rapidly advancing technological development is a challenging task that ties up a significant amount of resources within the company. Technical feasibility analyses and compatibility tests are part of our daily business, as is the procurement of suitable hardware. “Our development team is constantly working in a highly dynamic environment to future-proof the systems,” explains Andre Eggersdorfer, product manager at Mesutronic GmbH. In order to save internal resources here, Mesutronic decided to cooperate with external experts – namely with the hardware professionals of Thomas-Krenn.AG. The aim was to find an efficient and economical long-term solution that could be used for existing projects as well as for future projects. This should be realized without a platform change – and without a significant cost increase. Alternative solutions, such as sourcing hardware from other manufacturers, had to be discarded due to a lack of long-term availability.
Since the availability of the hardware components and Windows licenses was secured thanks to Thomas-Krenn, even in times of COVID, a strategy could now be developed to cope with the further challenges. These arose primarily in the implementation of a platform concept with scalable computing power. A market-oriented service of current customer inquiries by Mesutronic should be ensured at any time. Likewise, it had to be possible to expand the system for future requirements without any problems.
Free scalability through industrial PCs
The joint decision of Mesutronic and Thomas-Krenn finally fell on a system of industrial PCs. These robust and versatile machines are specially manufactured for use in industrial conditions and allow flexible scaling. With a lead time of approx. 3 months, the software requirements were compared and a solution proposal consisting of hardware and software was defined on the basis of these requirements. This analysis phase was followed by a pre-test under real conditions:
A demo system for internal evaluation ensured that the industrial PC system met all the scalability and usability requirements. In this way, the departments involved, such as purchasing, product management, engineering or order preparation, had sufficient time to prepare for the commissioning of the new system. After a satisfactory test phase, a framework agreement was finally concluded and the order was dispatched shortly afterwards. This was done in several partial deliveries in close coordination with the Sales and Systems Engineering departments of Thomas-Krenn.
The industrial PC systems have now been delivered in full and are performing as intended. Mesutronic GmbH is so pleased with the outcome that further collaborations in the IoT and Industry 4.0 field are already in the planning stage. Mesutronic especially appreciates the straightforward communication and the quick response times from Thomas-Krenn. This successfully completed project equips the metal search experts with a future-proof IT solution and forms the cornerstone of a mutually beneficial partnership.