Whether you are processing bulk, packaged or unpackaged products, the safety and quality of those products is a top priority. The advanced X-ray systems available on the market today are capable of providing outstanding contamination detection of calcified bone, glass, stone and metal fragments, as well as performing many other valuable quality checks simultaneously. Avoiding customer disappointment is a major concern, especially in a world where a negative experience could be circulated within seconds through numerous social media channels. Therefore the ability to perform quality checks inline is invaluable.
Fill Level Inspection
Fill levels can be challenging in food and beverage manufacturing. Underfills could leave your company in breach of regulations, or even in breach of contract with your customers, while overfills represent product giveaway resulting in a loss of profit. X-ray inspection systems allow manufacturers to set parameters for fill levels, rejecting any products which fall outside of these for re-work. This ability ensures compliance, while at the same time maximizes profitability.
Running a product of acceptable weight through an X-ray system allows the machine to 'learn' and set an acceptable standard. If further packages deviate beyond this accepted tolerance level, they will be rejected. The ability to measure total and zonal weight can have important benefits to customer satisfaction. If we take a filled pastry as an example, the amount of filling within cannot ordinarily be determined until the consumer takes a bite. With X-ray, the mass of the filling can be measured accurately in order to ensure the correct amount is present. Too little can lead to consumer disappointment, while too much is a cost to the manufacturer.
Many food products depend on air tight seals to protect freshness, therefore the integrity of those seals is a quality control issue which cannot be overlooked by manufacturers. Foreign matter caught in seal areas can lead to contamination or diminished shelf life and can have safety implications. For example, a broken seal could lead to an ineffective use-by-date if that product is directly exposed to oxygen which leaves consumers at risk. Some X-ray systems are capable of detecting contaminants as small as 1mm in seal areas.
To count the contents in a packaged box of chocolates, for example, is not possible by either human eye or vision systems. X-ray systems enable manufacturers to check component counts in this instance to ensure the correct number of items are present within the packaging — a function which can be applied to a vast number of products. Even though some applications can be undertaken by the human eye, such as checking that caps are present on bottles, an X-ray system is better able to perform this task at very high speeds, leading to a more optimized production line.
The ability to perform these product integrity checks in line is a real benefit to manufacturers, as they can be carried out alongside contaminant detection at high speed without the need to slow down production. Profitability, brand integrity and above all consumer safety are enhanced by ensuring products both look and taste exactly the way they are expected, all the while keeping productivity at a maximum.