Over the course of the two weeks leading up to PACK EXPO International 2016, Food Manufacturing is publishing a number of pieces of show preview content. We had the opportunity to connect with several companies exhibiting at the annual event for a quick look at topics and trends in their segment of the food and beverage industry, along with a preview of what products/technologies those companies will have on display at PACK EXPO International.
In this installment, we check in with Bob Ries — Lead Product Manager, Metal Detection and X-ray Inspection for Thermo Fisher Scientific — who discusses topics and trends in product inspection, and highlights what the company will have on display at booth S-2130.
Q. What are the latest trends and technologies in product inspection?
A. X-ray inspection continues to replace metal detection in a wide range of applications due to the broader range of foreign objects this technology can detect and the widespread adoption of metalized film/foil. Checkweighers are in high demand to control quality, improve efficiency and reduce the costs associated with give-away. Additionally, equipment sanitation requirements are becoming more severe as food producers try to eliminate the risks of biological and chemical food safety issues. Sanitary designs are more frequently being requested, although the costs associated with this type of design are not widely accepted.
Q. What role do product inspection technologies play as it relates to brand protection and consumer safety?
A. The number one cause for quarantine, rework or recall of food products continues to be unwanted foreign objects. Although these contaminants usually do not pose a serious consumer health hazard, they can wreak havoc on a company’s brand and can cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up. If the problem is large enough, and the FDA is involved, many times large quantities of product must be scrapped. Finally, because the contaminants frequently come from ingredient suppliers, the requirement for “clean” materials is being pushed upstream. Food manufacturers are rejecting complete lots of material when a problem is found, potentially impacting their production deliveries.
Q. What products/technologies will Thermo Fisher Scientific be exhibiting at PACK EXPO International?
A. A new checkweigher line for dry applications has been added to the Thermo Fisher Scientific Versa platform. The Thermo Scientific Versa Flex (fixed height) and Versa Flex GP (height-adjustable cantilever) checkweighers are designed to improve accuracy and reliability, while decreasing product giveaway, maintenance and total cost of ownership. The line targets dry applications such as baked goods, snack foods, prepared foods, condiments, pastas/rice/beans and baking ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.).
Additionally, food companies that require affordable inspection and detection capabilities for larger product and case profiles now benefit from a new X-ray system that accommodates taller and wider packages than previous models. The Thermo Scientific NextGuard C500 X-ray detection system features an aperture that is 35 percent wider and 50 percent taller than previous models, making it well-suited to inspect larger-sized products and cases. However, the machine footprint is only 20-30 percent larger, optimizing production floor space. As with all NextGuard systems, the C500 uses a wide X-ray beam and arc-shaped detector designed to eliminate blind spots in the inspection tunnel.
Other equipment includes:
- Thermo Scientific Versa 8120 Chain Checkweigher
- Thermo Scientific APEX 300 Metal Detector
- Thermo Scientific APEX 500 HD Metal Detector
- Thermo Scientific Xpert 600 Bulk X-ray System
- Thermo Scientific Xpert S400 Side Shoot X-ray
- Thermo Scientific NextGuard C300 X-ray System
- Thermo Scientific Global VersaWeigh Checkweigher with Thermo Scientific APEX 300 combo
- Thermo Scientific Versa Rx Checkweigher