Inspection system protects brand

Protecting your brand in the marketplace and providing customers with high quality products are some of the most important functions a food manufacturer can perform. Meeting consumer expectations for food safety and consistency can be a defining factor in a brand’s success but all the time and money spent establishing a reputation can be lost in the event of one safety recall.

That is why developing and maintaining an effective, verifiable inspection program is no longer just an option for processors,  but a necessity. The increase in innovative technology now provides a range of systems that can not only detect foreign objects, but can also operate simply, efficiently, and at high speed while collecting data to provide a transparency previously unachievable.

Metal Detection
Metal detection is an inspection process that can occur at several points throughout a production line. The primary purpose of installing metal detection is to identify ferrous (magnetic), non-ferrous metal contaminants in a product – for example aluminium, stainless steel and even paint chips.

While the use of metal detection in food production is primarily for the quality control of a product and ultimately consumer protection, metal detection units can also be used to protect machinery throughout the production line. The smallest metal particles can lead to machinery malfunction, resulting in revenue decreases due to the need for production downtime to perform repairs, as well as the cost of the repairs themselves.

Metal detectors perform differently depending on their application. When used in food processing, metal detectors are typically constructed as a metal box housing a three transmitter-receiver coil detector system. The transmitter coil generates an electromagnetic field, similar to how a radio transmitter would function.

If a metallic object is present it interferes with the electromagnetic field, causing a signal to be detected by the receiver coils. Although metal particles are able to be detected by other forms of inspection systems, metal detection systems are separated by their level of sensitivity.

Cutting-edge technology in metal detection has seen the invention of a multi-spectrum system. This new generation of metal detector is capable of eliminating false rejects without reducing sensitivity. Using proprietary multi-spectrum technology, it is able to consistently detect smaller metal particles in difficult products like wet spinach, cheese, tortillas and ground beef.

A manufacturer of metal detectors, CEIA, has developed multi-spectrum technology available in no other metal detector. The CEIA’s MS21 multi-spectrum metal detectors are the only metal detectors that use many frequencies simultaneously.

More detection frequencies mean more sensitive metal detection and fewer product effect errors. Other metal detectors – even three-frequency models – use only one frequency at a time.

Seal Checking
Seal checking or testing is used to detect leakage, as well as identify trends that may give early warning of deterioration in the sealing process. As a product moves through the seal checker/tester, an inspection head applies optimum controlled pressure to the pack to detect and evaluate any subsequent “give”.

Ishida high-performance, in-line seal checkers can inspect up to 150 bags per minute, making seal checking an integral step of the inspection process for the reduction of waste, as well as ensuring product integrity prior to it reaching retailers.

X-ray Inspection Systems
Used in conjunction with metal detection, an X-ray inspection system is the final check in a complete inspection line. X-ray inspection is a way of identifying inconsistencies, physical defects, and/or contaminants in product packaged in a pouch, bottle, can, jar, or flow of product passing through the system, without damaging the food product. Contaminants can be foreign bodies in the product such as pieces of glass, stone, shell, pebbles, bone, as well as plastics including hard rubber, nylon, PVC, and Teflon, and metals such as steel, iron, and aluminium.

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic wave of high energy and short wavelengths that are able to pass through food products. X-ray inspection systems function by passing an X-ray beam through an item as it moves along the line. As the X-ray beam passes through the item, it is converted into a greyscale image that can be easily scrutinised and recorded for historical traceability records. Contaminants denser than the product will present in this image as darker, whereas voids or missing pieces will present as lighter. This forms the basis of identification.

The Ishida range of X-ray inspection systems to help food manufacturers and processors comply with global safety standards and meet the demands of quality and safety-conscious retailers.

The IX-G2 series is able to provide a high level of quality assurance to processors and manufacturers of complex products including poultry, meat, vegetables, French fries and cereals.

Its dual energy sensor provides effective X-ray detection of low-density objects.

Optical Sorting
Sorting systems are also an integral part of the food processing line. A wide range of systems are available to food processers including colour sorters, smart laser sorters and also new hyperspectral technology.

Laser sorters inspect structural properties of each object to identify and remove foreign matter to improve the quality and increase the value of the product. These quality objectives are easily achieved with today’s sophisticated range of digital sorting systems that recognise colour, shape, size, and structural properties.

Laser and laser/camera sorters are available as combination systems. Designed with up to five lasers operating at different wavelengths, they can detect and remove a variety of defects and foreign matter. When combined with high-resolution cameras for superior shape, size, and colour determination, the result is a high-quality product.

They are configurable with a range of sensor options for single- or double-side viewing of the product stream on low to medium-capacity applications.

It sorts and manages separation of the product stream into two or three sort ways. The VeryX digital sorting platform has a modular platform of chute-fed and belt-fed sorters to meet specific needs. It features innovative mechanical architecture and sensor technology, state-of-the-art electronic sort engine advances machine algorithms and rich information capabilities.

Product inspection systems help prevent food tampering

Thermo Fisher Scientific is in the business of keeping food and beverage products safe, which includes helping manufacturers prevent product tampering. With recent reports of deliberate food tampering and contamination in Australia, technologies such as X-ray machines, metal detectors and scanners can help keep producers and consumers safe.
These technologies have been adopted for tampering prevention as well as for brand protection such as checking final fill in prepackaged foods and avoiding accidental contaminates including glass, rocks and plastics.

Businesses can reduce product effect and costly waste caused by false rejects with the Thermo Scientific Sentinel 5000 Multiscan Metal Detector. Metal detection systems provide reliable, cost-effective protection from even the smallest metal contaminants found anywhere in a food production process. The 5-frequency Sentinel metal detector provides unmatched sensitivity and the highest probability of detection.

Thermo Scientific metal detectors are reliable and can also help improve operational efficiency and eliminate expensive downtime, service costs and repair bills. Businesses can feel confident that Thermo Scientific metal detectors are meeting the food industry’s toughest requirements.

X-ray inspection systems are also helpful in providing protection from metal, glass, stone, bone and other dense foreign objects for almost any type of packaged, bulk, or piped product. Entry-level Thermo Scientific NextGuard X-ray Detection Systems are ideal for customers stepping up from metal detection to X-ray inspection. Designed for a wide variety of food applications, NextGuard systems offer enhanced capabilities to inspect packaged products for missing pieces or components, under and over-fills, and other quality problems with customisable vision software. Both the C330 and C500 models are easy-to-use, and cost effective.

The Thermo Scientific Xpert Bulk X-ray Inspection System finds contaminants such as metal, rock, plastic and glass and removes them prior to further processing – providing instant cost savings.

The Thermo Scientific Xpert Sideshoot X-ray Inspection System is a high speed, high performance horizontal X-ray beam system that provides single beam X-ray inspection for tall, upright packages. It includes software specifically tailored to detect objects in all regions of cans and bottles.

The Thermo Scientific Xpert C X-ray Inspection System optimises detection probability and sensitivity. Xpert C systems offer high performance conveyor and sideshoot inspection for large, dense products, or high speed production and patented dual beam, dual detector systems for food and pharma glass in glass detection.

Ishida X-ray technology helps to ensure Greek yogurt quality

A leading yogurt producer in northern Greece relies on the accuracy, versatility and reliability of an Ishida IX-GA-65100 X-ray inspection system to deliver the highest levels of quality control and achieve continuing success in both national and international markets.

Established in 1954 by George Tsinavos in Serres, Macedonia to produce ice cream and other dairy products, Kri Kri has grown over the decades with a full-fledged factory set up in 1987 and an expanded product range including yogurt introduced subsequently. Using milk sourced locally, Kri Kri is able to process and pack its yogurt within 24 hours, requiring just one pasteurisation process.

The Ishida X-ray system forms part of Kri Kri’s in-house stringent quality control procedures and also enables the company to meet the strict requirements of its customers. While the advanced production processes incorporate the highest hygiene levels, it is vital that Kri Kri remains vigilant against potential foreign bodies such as metal, glass or any foreign material that could contaminate the yogurt.

Kri Kri’s extensive product range of plain and fruit yogurts, traditional varieties and a children’s range is packed in pots of various sizes from 150g to 500g. The pots are first filled and then packed into cases before inspection in the Ishida X-ray machine. To accommodate complete cases, the company has opted for the Ishida IX-GA-65100, which is specially designed for larger products.

Ease of use and flexibility are the two major advantages of the Ishida X-ray system for Kri Kri since the broad range of product types and pack sizes typically requires up to four changeovers in each eight-hour shift.

Some of the features include a user-friendly colour touchscreen enabling specifications for each product to be stored in the memory and called up at the touch of a button for fast and simple changeovers; different levels of security in the touchscreen ensuring only designated and trained operators can make adjustments or change settings; and excellent versatility in sensitivity and levels of detection.

The unique Genetic Algorithm (GA) technology uses image data analysis over a number of inspections to achieve an extremely high level of inspection accuracy. This enables Kri Kri to ‘train’ the machine to focus solely on the yogurt contents in each pot, and exclude any external areas. The machine is able to distinguish between the fruit pieces in the fruit yogurts and any unwanted contaminants, as well as mask the small chocolate pieces used as topping for children’s yogurts.

Traceability information provided by the Ishida X-ray inspection system ensures that in the event of any complaint, an image of the pack in question can be retrieved to establish beyond doubt if there was a problem with the contents.

Kri Kri is currently processing around 80-90 tonnes of yogurt per day, with the Ishida X-ray system monitoring approximately 12,000 to 14,000 cups per hour.

The reliability of the IX-GA-65100 has been exceptional with no breakdowns since its installation. The machine is also easy to clean as part of Kri Kri’s regular and strict hygiene procedures.

The Ishida X-ray inspection system is installed in Kri Kri’s new state-of-the-art production and packing line, which was set up following a fire on Christmas Eve 2013 that caused severe damage to its dairy production plant. Given the opportunity to specify the newest and best equipment for the new factory, Kri Kri turned to Ishida and its Greek agent Europack for its X-ray inspection solution.

Ishida equipment is available in Australia through Heat and Control.