In 1948, the company Dr. Hans Boekels GmbH & Co. started developing civilian metal detectors, and in doing so laid the foundations for a success story to blossom. Its first products were metal detectors used in open-cast mining. The aim was to detect unexploded ammunition and bombs picked up by lignite excavators. Till this day, the world’s largest metal detectors are used in open-cast mines. Detectors are used in the wood industry to protect saw blades. In rivers such as the Port of Hamburg, metal detectors are used underwater to search for remnants from the war. Metal detectors have also been increasingly used to protect consumers in the wake of growing automation in the food industry and the associated risk of contamination. Detectors have now become standard equipment in the food and pharmaceutical industries. This has led to an increased demand for higher detection sensitivity. The introduction of phase rectifiers was a key milestone in the late 1970s. It meant that multichannel technology was now better equipped to block out interfering product signals.
This was followed by the rapid development of higher frequencies to improve detection sensitivity – particularly for stainless steel, a material increasingly used. In the 1990s, the working frequency reached over 300 kHz. Multi-frequency technology was introduced after the turn of the millennium and brought significant improvements, particularly to the production of different products on a single line. Nowadays, modern metal detectors have an operating frequency of up to 1 MHz. This provides a maximum detection sensitivity of 0.2 mm with the smallest coil and highest frequency.
Dr. Hans Boekels GmbH & Co. successfully expanded their product portfolio and in addition to metal detectors, they developed the first dynamic checkweighers in 1969. These checkweighers were developed in-house with electromagnetic force compensation load cells which made new dimensions for weighing speed and accuracy possible.
In 1998, Sartorius AG acquired the Boekels company. Ten years later, the product range further expanded with the addition of X-ray inspection systems. The name was changed to Minebea Intec following the company takeover by the MinebeaMitsumi Group in 2016. The core business with its well-known products and services remains unchanged. Through its affiliation with the MinebeaMitsumi Group and the associated investments in technological developments, the business has been further strengthened through growth, expansion and sustainability.
The wide-ranging product offering, consisting of metal detectors, checkweighers and X-ray inspection systems, makes Aachen a unique location: Minebea Intec is the only manufacturer that offers checkweighers, metal detectors and combination units thus perfectly coordinated products at a single facility.
Metal detection today
Over the past few decades we have witnessed important technological advances in the field of production and consumer safety. This experience and expertise, alongside ongoing technological developments, makes Minebea Intec one of the leading global suppliers of innovative products which offer increased safety and efficiency in production processes. With a global presence, Minebea Intec supports its customers as a partner with tailor-made solutions and individual advice.
Ultra-modern and reliable, the foreign object detection products from Minebea Intec are an integral part of production in many industries and guarantee maximum detection performance. The systems reliably eliminate contaminated products from the production or packaging lines. Metal detectors from Minebea Intec provide high-end solutions at critical control points along the production line, particularly in the food industry. But metal detection systems are also used in other industries, such as in pharmaceuticals or chemistry. In 2016, Minebea Intec expanded its portfolio for foreign object detection with the innovative freefall metal detection system Vistus®. The modular system increases product quality and safety in vertical production processes to ensure reliable elimination of metallic foreign objects from powders and granulates.
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