Health & Efficiency

Stuart Pritchard December 15, 2015



Upping the production ante at its Blackpool plant, we look at the difference a sextuplet of Fortress Stealth Metal Detectors has made to sports supplement manufacturers, the Nutrition Group…

Sports nutrition and health supplement manufacturer Nutrition Group PLC has installed six Stealth Pharmaceutical metal detectors from Fortress Technology on its tablet pressing lines as part of a major upgrade and expansion programme.

The Obsolete guarantee seals the deal for tablet manufacturers

The Obsolete guarantee seals the deal for tablet manufacturers

Reliability, sensitivity and ease-of-use were all key factors in the purchase, according to facilities manager Tim Edwards. However, it was Fortress’s ‘Never Obsolete’ guarantee, a focal point at PPMA 2015, that really clinched the deal. This means that Fortress will continue to support the detectors throughout their lifetime, ensuring that spares and upgrades continue to be available to maintain compliance with the latest standards.

“The problem with a lot of equipment is that it can quickly become outdated, but Fortress says that it will guarantee to support its metal detectors, even if I call them up needing a part in 10 years’ time. That’s a big commitment,” says Tim.

Fortress also provided an on-site demonstration and left a Stealth unit on site for six weeks so that Nutrition Group could be confident it met the company’s needs. “Everybody loved it. We were all impressed with the build quality, ease-of-use and general robustness. It was a clear winner,” he says.


Blackpool-based Nutrition Group is the UK’s fastest growing contract manufacturer and packer in the sports nutrition and health supplements market, producing in excess of three billion tablets and 500 million capsules a year. Clients include

Stealth at all times

Stealth at all times

major high street retailers, blue chip pharmaceutical organisations and leading international brands, as well as SMEs. The rapidly growing company has recently invested £2 million in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.

While most of the products made by the company are classed as supplements, Nutrition Group also produces two MHRA licensed products. Metal detection plays an important role in maintaining product quality and safety, paramount in this market.

Checking the loose tablets for metals as they emerge and free-fall through the detector apertures is one of the Critical Control Points identified by a HACCP analysis of the Nutrition Group production process. Rejects are diverted into lockable bins that can be removed for secure disposal. Each unit can handle up to 30,000 tablets per minute and uses digital signal processing to detect particles down to 0.15mm for ferrous and non-ferrous metals and 0.3mm for stainless steel.


Fortress protects against any errors

Fortress protects against any errors

As a contract manufacturer and packer, Nutrition Group PLC produces a wide and constantly evolving range of products that demand adaptable equipment to enable rapid changeovers and easy cleaning between production runs. “We have relatively short production runs that can be anywhere between 100,000 tablets up to eight or 12 million,” says Tim. “Some are on and off in just half a day, so we need flexibility.”

Several features make the Stealth Pharmaceutical metal detectors ideal for this fast-paced environment. First, the detectors include a library of product characteristics, so they can swap between different products in seconds. They are also constructed from 316 Stainless Steel and offer Nema4X/IP65K protection against dust and liquids, so they can withstand the factory’s rigorous cleaning regime between production runs. In addition, they’re mounted on locking casters and offer powered height adjustment, which is unique in the market. This enables Nutrition Group to move them between tablet lines and adjust them easily and safely to suit different presses.

Oxfordshire-based Fortress Technology (Europe) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned Toronto based Fortress Technology Inc. Since manufacturing began at the Banbury site in 2011, over 1000 UK-built Phantom and Stealth metal detectors have been supplied to home and export markets. Fortress Technology is the only metal detection manufacturer that, since its inception in 1996, custom manufactures the detector head to suit its customers’ needs, application and specification to ensure optimal performance.

Dedicated to their ‘Never Obsolete Commitment’, new technology is developed to be backwards-compatible and accessible without having to purchase an entirely new system.

In addition to product manufacture, the company offers a range of after-sales service and support services including training, preventative maintenance plans, spare parts and validation visits. So, if you’re in the market for a metal detector that works past, present and future to deliver product peace of mind, give them a shout to see what they can do for you.

T: +44 (0)1295 256 266