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  • 18-Dec-2020

In recent years, X-ray inspection has grown significantly in industrial inspection and quality control due to technological advancements in hardware and crucial software upgrades. The efficiency and user-friendliness of X-ray systems have also improved significantly. Latest technologies, such as sensors and communication field tubes, sources, and detectors integrated with X-ray inspection systems have removed the barriers of limited adoption in the industrial sector, making the systems easy-to-use, safe, and versatile. These factors have also broadened the scope of X-ray inspection systems beyond R&D applications and boosted its production testing adoption.

The food processing industry is one such vertical, which has extensively adopted X-ray inspection systems for quality control, removal of foreign contaminants, reduce wastage, avoid costly & unnecessary product recalls, boost profitability, and ensure that the product conforms to government and in-house quality standards. Foreign material continues to be the biggest threat to food manufacturers. The capability of technologies, such as metal detectors and magnets, is only limited to metallic contaminants.

X-ray inspection systems can detect various foreign objects, such as glass, stones, and high-density plastics. These materials can be found in different locations and phases of the production process and possess huge contamination risks. X-ray systems can detect contaminants based on the density differential of the foreign material from the density of the product to be inspected. The variety of foreign objects detected by X-ray inspection systems in food processing are steel and stainless steel, glass, sandstone, quartz, shale, PVC, PTFE, raw bones, and salt lumps.

For example, harvesting nuts and staple foods, such as pulses and rice, have a risk of stone contamination, which cannot be detected by metal detectors while packaging, but X-ray inspection systems can effectively detect these contaminations. Besides checking contamination, these systems can also monitor fill-levels of the packaging, check for damaged or missing products in packaging, identify broken or missing products, unwanted air bubbles, overweight or underweight, shape deviations, and even incorrect positions of individual components. This further guarantee product purity and improves the quality of the end product.

X-ray inspection systems can also help reduce wastage of food products due to unwanted rejection of production batches. They can scan each batch's pack for possible contaminations and reject only the pack which contains any foreign material and allows other good products to pass. X-ray inspection can help in reducing a lot of wastage and reduce the cost of production.

In recent times, food information, transparency, and traceability have become a very important global trend in the food processing industry. Food traceability can ensure product quality at every step of production, minimize safety hazards, improve the supply chain, meet the local and global food safety regulations, promote transparency in food processing, and identify possible contamination issues. These systems can improve food production traceability by setting-up critical control points (CCP) after completing food processing and packaging to ensure products are not contaminated without damaging or breaking the package.

X-ray inspection contributes to food traceability by being a key element in the food production and supply chain and storing the necessary data in reports and images. This will also help produce the required due diligence documents in product recall and seek reimbursement from suppliers for the contaminated raw material. Also, this information can establish if there was actual contamination in production.

X-RAY INSPECTION IN CHEESE MANUFACTURING

Cheese manufacturers need to ensure that their product is free from contaminants, such as metal, glass, stones, and other high-density objects. Cheese is a dairy-based product and has conductive properties due to high moisture and salt content. Metal detectors for quality control are a challenge, and sometimes these tools raise false alarms, which can cause unwanted rejections of batches, leading to wastage. X-ray inspection systems can enable more accurate inspection of cheese products regardless of conductive properties and easily detect metals, stones, glass, and plastics in the product. This helps in reducing the wastage of products as well as maintain the highest quality food standards.

X-RAY INSPECTION IN CONFECTIONERY PRODUCTS

Confectionery products are quite complex for detecting possible contamination since they are packaged in metallic packaging materials, such as foils, to improve the shelf-life and enhance preservation. Metal detectors can cause false rejection and cannot be used for quality inspection. X-ray inspection systems are not affected by materialized packaging material since the detection systems work on the density differentials of X-ray penetration through the material. X-ray inspection systems can be programmed for products supposed to have a materialized packaging layer on top of them. Hence, it can detect foreign objects within the product or packaging without issues.

X-RAY INSPECTION IN CONFECTIONERY PRODUCTS

Confectionery products are quite complex for detecting possible contamination since they are packaged in metallic packaging materials, such as foils, to improve the shelf-life and enhance preservation. Metal detectors can cause false rejection and cannot be used for quality inspection. X-ray inspection systems are not affected by materialized packaging material since the detection systems work on the density differentials of X-ray penetration through the material. X-ray inspection systems can be programmed for products supposed to have a materialized packaging layer on top of them. Hence, it can detect foreign objects within the product or packaging without issues.

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