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How X-ray Detection Makes Glass a Safer Packaging Option

Food & Beverage, Red Meat

As a transparent substance, you can see right through glass. But that doesn’t mean you can detect small glass shards and pieces that can pose food safety hazards in your products packaged in glass. X-ray technology offers several advantages in the inspection of glass products, reducing the risk of contaminants while also providing key quality checks.

Just like products themselves, different packaging types pose inherent benefits and challenges, including the traditional material of glass. While several manufacturers have turned to lighter plastics and flexible packages in recent years, there are a host of benefits to glass.

From a benefit perspective, glass containers, jars, bottles and other vessels, are a solid (no pun intended) choice for a variety of food and nonfood products:

  • Glass is the only widely-used food packaging granted the ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) status by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • As an impermeable substance, glass effectively preserves, protects and attractively presents the product within.
  • Glass is a 100% recyclable material and can be quickly recycled back into bottles, jars and other forms, which can be a benefit as the market weighs the actual and environmental cost of packaging waste with plastics.

That said, there are challenges when packaging products in this traditional material. Glass-in-glass contamination is a risk, because of the nature of the material and the packaging process. For more information about glass-in-glass x-ray inspection, read this white paper.

To prevent this potential food safety hazard before it is a direct consumer problem, advanced inspection of products packaged in glass is crucial and is an integral part of a manufacturer’s HACCP plan. High-performing x-ray machines from Eagle Product Inspection can detect small or thin glass shards and pieces in a wide range of food and pharmaceutical products.

All of Eagle’s x-ray systems are designed to find and reject foreign bodies like glass, as well as other contaminants such as calcified bone, rubber, plastic, etc. Eagle’s Tall PRO XS and Tall PRO XSDV, for example, have proven successful in the inspection of glass and rigid containers. Click here to learn how one company added those systems to improve their detection of glass jars.

Eagle’s QuadView has been specifically designed for difficult-to-inspect glass packages, including those with curves and shapes that can cause challenges during inspection. The QuadView, as its name suggests, provides four-view detection for a more comprehensive inspection of containers up to 12” tall and 6” in diameter, overcoming potential blind spots. As with other Eagle systems, the QuadView also performs inline quality checks, including fill level inspection and package integrity, among other assessments and analyses.

Click here to read an application note about inspection of jam in glass jars or go here to read about how one manufacturer found x-ray systems ensured total quality inspection of their glass-packaged products. You can also learn more about using x-ray systems in tall rigid containers by clicking here.

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