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What are the challenges when inspecting metal cans?

Metal cans have traditionally proven to be more challenging to inspect than lower-density containers, as the packaging itself absorbs more x-ray beams. The toughest challenge when inspecting metal cans is to detect small physical contaminants that are located on the base or near the side walls of the can, especially if they have side ribbing. Ring-pulls can also affect sensitivity.

In addition to the can itself, the production environment and manufacturing requirements create further inspection challenges including:

  • Simultaneously checking for fill levels and contamination detection
  • Effectively rejecting cans without denting them
  • Removing consecutive non-conforming products
  • Ensuring accurate removal of faulty products even at high speeds

METTER TOLEDO Safeline X-ray offer a range of metal can inspection solutions to ensure all physical contaminants are detected whilst simultaneously conducting quality control checks, guaranteeing canned food safety.

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What is the recommended METTLER TOLEDO solution for metal can inspection?

METTLER TOLEDO offers a range of x-ray systems for inspection of metal cans with either single or spilt beams to ensure optimum contaminant detection.

A vertical beam x-ray system can be used to inspect small cans with ring pulls, as these are usually smaller in height than they are in width and length. This means inspecting these type of cans through the vertical cross-section provides the best detection sensitivity.

Horizontal beam systems are primarily used to inspect cans that are taller than they are wide. To overcome challenging applications, METTLER TOLEDO offers a split beam x-ray system that images every can twice. Each image represents a different viewing angle, increasing the coverage for inspection inside the container and the probability of contaminant detection.

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Can x-ray inspection systems keep up with high throughputs?

METTLER TOLEDO Safeline X-ray systems are designed to inspect and reject cans with very high accuracy at high line speeds, meaning they will not cause production bottlenecks. In addition, reject systems that work in conjunction with the detectors are capable of removing contaminated/defective product from the production line without a reduction in speed or throughput.

How many packs per minutes (PPM) can be inspected?

X-ray inspection systems can operate at line speeds of up to 1,200ppm, depending on the application. This includes a high-speed reject device to ensure quick removal of faulty products.

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What can x-ray systems inspect metal cans for?

METTLER TOLEDO Safeline X-ray systems can inspect metal cans for physical contaminants, including metal, glass, mineral stone, calcified bone and high density plastics. X-ray systems for canned foods can also simultaneously conduct a range of product integrity checks to ensure consistent product quality and food safety. These include:

  • Monitoring fills levels
  • Identifying missing or broken products, for example scoops in cans of baby food
  • Measuring mass
  • Detection of dented cans

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How easy is it to integrate an x-ray system into my existing production line?

X-ray systems for canned foods can be easily fitted into an existing line as they are highly adaptable to suit individual customer requirements. This keeps downtime associated with installation to a minimum. The latest single and split beam x-ray systems also include integrated conveyors which make production line integration even easier.

Are x-ray systems expensive to service?

Service contracts should form part of any x-ray system purchase. Regular servicing of an x-ray system, including performance verification, will ensure it is operating at the optimum level of performance. This will prevent food safety issues. Preventative maintenance enables manufacturers to avoid downtime issues due to unexpected maintenance work.

All METTLER TOLEDO X3000 x-ray system generators come with a five-year warranty when a service contract is purchased. By protecting the most valuable part of the x-ray machine, manufacturers can have confidence that production uptime is maximized.

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