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What are the challenges with inspecting glass containers for contaminants?

Glass containers are one of the most challenging products to inspect, mainly because the primary contaminant is glass, which is the same material and density as the packaging. The density of the material, the base, sidewalls and neck of the glass container can all cause blind spots, making the inspection even more challenging. This means potential contaminants - such as a shard of glass - can go undetected. METTLER TOLEDO offers a range of glass inspection systems to provide detection for all physical contaminants.

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Can glass containers diminish the performance of industrial x-ray inspection systems?

Glass containers often have many natural variations and inconsistencies throughout the container material. While the overall weight and outer shape of a bottle or jar remain consistent from the mold, the varying thickness of the glass walls, and particularly the inner base, can be as much as 20 percent. This can make contamination detection challenging. METTLER TOLEDO offers a range of glass inspection systems to ensure all your physical contaminants are detected.

Various industrial x-ray inspection systems are available for the inspection of glass jars, bottles, and other glass containers, including systems with single beams, split beams, combination beams and angled beams.

How does an x-ray inspection system work to inspect products packaged in glass containers?

When it comes to inspecting products packaged in glass, horizontal beam x-ray systems are best suited for glass-in-glass inspection. The key factor in detection sensitivity for glass containers is the container depth, as the x-ray inspection beam has to pass through the product. The x-ray generator of a horizontal beam system is mounted in the side of the machine cabinet, scanning through the side of the container. This allows for easier contaminant detection in difficult-to-inspect areas such as the sidewalls and the base of the containers, which in turn minimizes false rejects. 

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Do multiple beams offer advantages when inspecting glass containers?

The probability of contaminant detection can be improved by using two or more x-ray beams. For example; a fragment of glass is never a perfect sphere, rather it tends to be an irregularly-shaped shard. The more the physical contaminant lies in the path of the x-ray beam, the more product is displaced by the denser material, which makes the contaminant easier to detect. Inspecting the same container simultaneously from different angles increases the chance of shard detection.

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What types of test pieces should I use for validating glass x-ray inspection performance?

It is recommended that glass test pieces are made from the same material as the glass container you are inspecting, as this glass type is most representative of a possible contaminant. It is also recommended that  irregularly-shaped glass fragments are used as these will provide the greatest challenge to x-ray inspection software tools.

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How can I prevent glass containers from being damaged when rejected from high-speed production lines?

A number of different reject systems are available for automated x-ray inspection systems. The correct choice will depend on several factors, such as the environment, belt speed and the weight and size of container. For high-speed applications, more advanced reject systems with careful product handling can be used. These smoothly divert containers at high speeds onto a parallel reject conveyor, preventing damage to the glass ccontainer.

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Can glass container x-ray inspection systems provide additional checks over and above contamination inspection?

In a single pass at high speeds, glass container x-ray inspection systems can perform several inspection tasks simultaneously including:

  • Monitoring fill levels
  • Detection of damaged containers
  • Checking closures

This helps manufacturers protect the quality and integrity of their product before it leaves the manufacturing plant.

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White Paper: X-ray Inspection is More Than Just Contamination Detection

Are x-ray systems designed to inspect glass containers expensive to service?

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

All METTLER TOLEDO X-Series X-ray System generators offer a five-year warranty when a service contract is purchased. By protecting the most valuable part of the x-ray machine, manufacturers can be confident that production uptime is maximized.

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