Fill levels can be difficult to control in the food and beverage industry. Fast moving production lines need regular adjustments to keep fill levels accurate; if this is undertaken manually, it can lead to unscheduled downtime and loss of production – not to mention wasted product.
Underfilled products can result in consumer dissatisfaction and even legal issues relating to weights and measures regulations. Overfilled products are also problematic as manufacturers are essentially giving product away. Over the course of a high speed production run, fill level-related issues can soon mount and, when extended over weeks, months and years, can result in substantial losses.
Advanced x-ray systems are becoming widespread in the food and beverage industries due to their extended capabilities. In addition to offering superior contaminant detection for objects such as calcified bone, metal fragments, glass shards and some high density rubber and plastic compounds, they feature a number of other quality control checks that can be carried out simultaneously.
One such feature is fill level inspection and control. Manufacturers can set minimum and maximum fill level parameters, and products falling outside of this range will be automatically rejected from the line. In addition, it is now possible to eliminate operator involvement by enabling the x-ray system to automatically feed back to the filling machine – a feature that is particularly beneficial when processing liquid foods and beverages. Automatic adjustments can be made while the line is still fully operational, keeping downtime, wastage and human interaction with the line to an absolute minimum.
Zoned fill level inspection checks for products such as ready meals are also possible with x-ray systems – something that is not possible with a checkweigher. Component counts using zonal inspection can be undertaken without the need for average weight calculations. A checkweigher can only convert total weight into individual counts if the average piece weight is known. These additional benefits make x-ray systems a more complete product inspection solution.
An x-ray systems’ ability to carry out these inspection tasks inline means that line speeds are never affected by the inspection process. One hundred percent of products can pass through the system and manufacturers can be assured that the products continuing downstream are contaminant free and filled to the correct level. Wasted product is equal to wasted dollar bills and by investing in advanced product inspection systems, the potential savings can see a rapid return on investment and a more consistent, higher-quality offering.
Click here to read more about the Tall PRO XS, Eagle’s x-ray inspection solution for fill levels and contaminant detection.