It’s safe to say that the state of food and beverage manufacturing and the consumer marketplace are decidedly different since the last round of in-person trade shows were held in late 2019 and early 2020.
In today’s operating environment, marked by a greater need for automation and versatility in addition to the perennial priorities of product safety and quality, manufacturers are looking at equipment solutions in a new light. At this year’s much-anticipated PACK EXPO, September 27-29 in Las Vegas, Eagle Product Inspection (Booth C-1506) will showcase relevant solutions in x-ray inspection technologies for today’s operators as they plan for the future and address ongoing challenges.
Ken Falk, Regional Sales Manager for Eagle Product Inspection, provides a first look at what attendees can expect to learn about and see in action.
Q: What x-ray machines will be on display at Eagle’s exhibit at PACK EXPO?
Ken Falk: We are showing examples of x-ray systems designed for easy cleaning in harsh washdown environments for packaged meat, poultry, dairy, and other food applications where daily sanitation is required. Those systems include the high performance Eagle Pack 240 HC and Eagle Pack 400 HC.
Q: What kind of applications will be running on those machines during PACK EXPO?
A: For the Eagle Pack 240 HC, we will demonstrate applications using a chub package configuration. Usually when we refer to chubs, we think of one-pound or five-pound tubes of ground beef, but many other products, such as salami, bologna and processed meats, also run very well through that machine. In applications with these and other packaged processed meats, x-ray machines conduct several important checks, including looking at product dimensions, making sure wrappers aren’t blown out and confirming that the small metal clips used in chub packages are placed correctly and not missing.
The Eagle Pack 400 HC – which has a belt that is 400 mm wide and a larger footprint than the Pack 240 HC – is designed to run a variety of fresh meat and dairy products, including larger packages of meats and cheeses and multiple containers of yogurt, sour cream or ricotta cheese. Like the Pack 240 HC, the Pack 400 HC features a sanitary design for easy washdown and no buildup of debris. That makes the system unique in these industries.
Q: For visitors impacted by pandemic-related shifts in their businesses and customer relationships, how do these and other Eagle x-ray machines meet their evolving needs?
A: In COVID-19 times, a lot of our customers went through changes, frequently switching from larger commercial packaging to smaller consumer-sized packaging, as restaurant and hotels were closed and demand for smaller products increased. Advanced-x-ray systems gave them the agility to inspect new and different products in a seamless way.
Also, over the past year and a half, many manufacturers began contracting with co-packers and other suppliers to meet their customers’ needs. When co-packers experienced an influx of business related to the pandemic, they realized that having an inspection system in place that could conduct both product safety and quality checks allowed them to qualify to work for a variety of companies.
Now, although some of these trends are starting to shift back, we still see strong interest in flexibility, and Eagle x-ray machines are very effective at switching from one product to other to ensure safety and quality. The need for agility that proved so important during the pandemic will continue.
Q: What are some new technologies from Eagle that will be shown at Pack EXPO?
A: The Pack 400 HC machine will be equipped with Eagle’s new breakthrough PXT™ detection technology, introduced last year for superior bone detection in poultry and now being used for other applications in the food and beverage industry. PXT™ does an excellent job of finding bones in seafood, for example, and also can be used to detect bone-in items like prepared meals packaged in bowls.
Both the Eagle Pack 240 HC and Eagle Pack 400 HC will be running at our booth throughout PACK EXPO, so visitors can see for themselves how the systems work and how effective they are in a range of applications. We also encourage people to bring their own products with them to the show to test on our machines. It’s a great opportunity for live test runs.
We’re really looking forward to connecting with people in-person, including our longtime customers and potential new business partners, at this year’s event. It’s a good time to look ahead at better ways of producing foods and beverages, for the benefit of all.
Ken Falk will be on hand at Eagle’s Booth C-1506 at PACK EXPO to answer questions about x-ray applications and demonstrate the Eagle Pack 240 HC and Eagle Pack 400 HC equipped with PXT™ detector technology. Learn more about Eagle’s advanced inspection systems.