You may be familiar with x-ray inspection, but have you been hesitant to take the next step to reach out to a supplier? Eagle Product Inspection understands your reluctance, so we wanted to provide you with a high-level view of the product testing process, explain why it is important and show you how easy it can be.
When you have your product tested by a supplier, you will receive a test report outlining the results of contaminant and quality check testing. This proof of detection is a guarantee that the x-ray equipment will hit the promised level of detection on your line.
Testing standards vary by supplier, so it is important to not only compare the test results, but also the processes, before making a large capital investment.
Let’s look at the product testing process broken down into three simple steps:
Step 1 – Product Test Request
For this initial stage, you just need to have product details (such as weight, dimensions and throughput) as well as application specifications. Basically, application specifications are the product type, for example frozen, raw, bulk or packaged. Most customers ask for “best spec”, but if you do have minimum detection requirements, now would be a good time to share.
Besides contaminant detection, x-ray technology can inspect for quality checks that you would like tested on your products, such as:
- Weight verification
- Void detection
- Shape verification
- Fill level
- Damaged product
- Mass measurement
- Component count
- Package integrity
Making a request with Eagle PI is easy. You can either request a product test analysis with your sales representative or order online with a push of a button. Once the form is submitted, an Eagle expert will reach out to learn more about the application, your production line and unique inspection requirements. This helps us ensure that the testing process mimics as closely as possible the real-world application.
Step 2 – Product Testing
Along with experience and technical expertise, there are three system components that work together to inspect your product. An applications specialist combines the physical machine with a generator and detector combination. Next, they configure imaging software to provide the best inspection results. A minimum of ten passes through the x-ray inspection machine are needed. However, statistically, additional passes lead to more accurate results.
In addition to shipping three to five products for testing, Eagle application experts encourage you to send unique contaminants that are troublesome directly to our site. Real life examples are always best! However, we do have an array of standardized contaminant cards for the usual suspects in assorted sizes.
After the applications lab has verified the product test request—the test is categorized according to complexity, from A to D. Product testing takes approximately 1-2 weeks depending on the complexity of the project. The less complex the project, the shorter the testing time.
Eagle experts combine best-in-class physical machine design with multiple generator and detector configurations with our image analysis software, SimulTask™ PRO, to get you the best solution with superior inspection results. SimulTask™ PRO has the highest greyscale range in the industry with up to 65,535 values. This wide greyscale range provides high resolution x-ray images with exceptional clarity to easily find foreign bodies and product quality issues. Our imaging software also allows us to create algorithms specifically for complex products for better detection results. For example, tabs on cans or compartmentalized trays.
Our application experts make sure to run the product through the x-ray machine for at least 30 passes. They adjust system components and refine operator and sensitivity settings to find the best inspection solution for your product.
Step 3 – Data Analysis & Final Report
During the final step, the supplier analyzes the product test data and collates it into the final report. This is a point in the process that can vary amongst suppliers. Many x-ray suppliers will make big promises when it comes to the level of contaminant detection. It is important for you to understand the information in the final report and have clear expectations when it comes to x-ray technology performance.
The Eagle Way
We pride ourselves on giving realistic expectations, which is why we have a clearly defined testing process. It’s important to take into account how likely a contaminant is to be detected by an x-ray system, given all the variables associated with each product and application, as discussed in Step 2.
Upon completion, Eagle creates a detailed report outlining the results of contaminant and quality check testing. The test report includes:
- specific details on each product that was tested, including dimensions and throughput speed
- the Eagle machine configuration for each product
- contaminant testing results
- inspection images and quality check results
This data is for you to keep and have on file. You can then use this detailed test report as a comparison tool against other suppliers to ultimately determine the best choice for a product inspection partner.
Important Tips When Evaluating X-ray Suppliers
- A product trial should never be ran using only one product sample.
- A product test should always be conducted by placing a contaminant in different locations on the product.
- Be wary of a test report that claims an x-ray system can detect a size of contaminant without any explanation of how many product passes were involved in the trial, what the False Reject Rate (FRR) was and how likely it is that the x-ray will be able to obtain the promised level of detection in a real-life production environment.
- Don’t forget to inquire about after-market support!
Now that you know how simple it is to have your products tested for contaminants and other quality checks, put Eagle x-ray technology to the test! Contact us today.