For nearly three decades, manufacturers have relied on x-ray food inspection systems to ensure product safety. But did you know x-ray equipment is capable of much more than simply detecting and removing physical contaminants? This article explains how in addition to providing outstanding detection of calcified bone, glass, stone and metal fragments, x-ray systems are also a powerful tool for enforcing food quality control. Without compromising high line speeds, food inspection x-ray systems can simultaneously in a single pass check fill levels, measure mass, detect product in seals and count components. Read on to discover more…
Fill Level Inspection
Maintaining the correct fill level is a constant challenge for food and beverage manufacturers. Under fills have an effect on consumer satisfaction and can leave companies in a breach of contract or with lost customer contracts. Over fills are equally undesirable as they represent product giveaway, resulting in a loss of profit.
By allowing manufacturers to set parameters for fill levels and rejecting products which fall outside these for re-work, x-ray systems can help to ensure regulatory compliance and maximize profitability. Furthermore, an optional feedback to the filling machine can be added to automatically adjust fill levels. This is especially beneficial for beverages and liquid foods, such as yogurt drinks.
The amount of filling inside a pastry is an example of how x-rays can help manufacturers exert better food quality control. From the outside, a pastry with too little or too much filling looks perfect. However, too little filling leads to consumer disappointment, while too much filling increases production costs.
Furthermore, x-ray systems provide greater benefits than traditional checkweighers, especially for compartmentalized food such as ready meals or chocolate boxes.
The integrity of product seals is a vital quality control issue for food manufacturers. Many products depend on airtight seals for freshness, but they can be easily compromised by stray particles of product or physical contaminants. Foreign matter caught in seal areas can lead to a diminished shelf life or contamination, which can have serious safety implications.
For example, a blowout from an unsealed casing of cookie dough packaged in a chub can result in not only a reduction of product quality, leaving it unsuitable for further processing, but may also risk the company’s reputation.
X-ray systems can help combat these quality issues by detecting particles as small as 1mm caught in seal areas. In the case of the cookie dough chub example, x-ray can detect missing or misplaced metal clips.
Counting the contents of a packaged box using human eyesight or cameras is impossible. However, x-ray systems are capable of looking inside final sealed packaging and checking that all components are present, which enhances both food quality and productivity. Read here an example on how Compañia de Galletas Noel used the latest x-ray technology to tackle consumer complaints about missing and broken crackers.
By performing all these product integrity checks alongside contaminant detection, modern x-ray systems are multi-tasking defenders of product and brand quality. Manufacturers can be confident that any product which successfully passes through an x-ray system contains no shocks, surprises or disappointments.