Metal cans are used extensively across the food industry to package a range of products from meat, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, soups...
Metal cans are used extensively across the food industry to package a range of products from meat, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, soups to infant feeding products, such as milk powder. Cans are one of the most commonly used packaging types on supermarket shelves globally for many reasons:
- Sustainability is high on the list of most manufacturing operations. Metal packaging has remained one of the most popular formats in the food and beverage industry due to its recyclable attributes as it can be used and reprocessed over-and-over with no loss of physical properties. Food and beverage cans are produced with, on average; more than 50% recycled materials which makes them an attractive prospect for brands looking to bolster their environmental credentials.
- The long shelf-life of canned food products and the convenience they offer are also key growth drivers for the industry. The steel can is one of the safest types of food packaging as it is tamper-resistant, provides an airtight seal, is thermally sterilized and shelf stable.
- Canned foods also reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Not only does the canning process lock in nutrients at their peak of freshness but the canned product is not exposed to additional oxygen during storage. This ensures that canned fruits and vegetables retain their original quality up until the time they are consumed; meaning longer shelf-life capabilities and reduced waste from spoilage.
Avoid Product Recalls with Various X-ray Beam Options
Food safety is a top concern for the food and beverage industry and with regulations such as the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) now in force, manufacturers must ensure they have a robust product inspection programme in place. This not only ensures regulatory compliance, it significantly reduces the possibility of product recalls and protects the consumers from substandard goods. For canned product manufacturers, there are two x-ray beam options which cater for different applications:
- Horizontal Single-Beam X-ray System - A horizontal single- beam system has one generator creating an x-ray beam that aligns with the surface of the conveyor belt. The system scans each can for product and presentation defects as it passes a single detector in real-time. Since the beam must be wide enough to encompass the largest container, a variety of sizes of beam geometry is available. Depending upon the nature of the product and size of the can, the single-beam x-ray can also be angled to increase detection capabilities.
- Horizontal Split-Beam X-ray System - A horizontal split-beam, produced by one generator, increases the coverage inspection area and scans for small contaminants located on the base or side walls of metal cans. This technology, compared to horizontal or angled singe-beam x-ray improves the probability of detecting and removing contaminated canned product from the manufacturing line.
Further Capabilities of X-ray Inspection of Cans
Enhancements in x-ray inspection are a continual process with significant changes being made in recent years, including:
- Precision Inspection at High Throughputs – Advancements in x-ray technology accommodate the high precision detection and rejection of non-conforming cans at fast line speeds of up to 1,200 containers per minute, depending on application.
- Easy Set-Up – The installation of advanced x-ray equipment is now designed to easily fit over an existing line without slowing down the production line speed. The pre-programmed software also facilitates the smooth transition of inspecting new product lines.
- Confirming Product Freshness – Canned food x-ray systems are available to inspect and confirm the presence of a vacuum within the container. This maintains maximum product freshness for the manufacturer and consumer.
- Additional Presentation Checks - The x-ray beam can be programmed to detect agglomerates, such as flavour and powder lumps and packaging defects. In this instance, the manufacturer can be satisfied that brand integrity is upheld.
- Increased Hygienic Design – Robust tubular hygienically designed x-ray systems with IP69 ingress protected stainless steel frames facilitate clean-room environments and harsh wash-down requirements. Additional features such as outside cable trays and easily-removable reject devices further complement cleaning schedules.
- Proving Due Diligence – All activity from inspection results to removal of non-conforming product from lockable reject bins is monitored and recorded. In the event of a product recall, the statistics can be easily retrieved to demonstrate due diligence.
Why is Regulatory Compliance Important?
Regulatory compliance is necessary for manufacturers and retailers to export their packaged products into different markets throughout the globe. Installing an x-ray system for the inspection of cans helps food manufacturers comply with the following Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) based Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognised standards:
- International Featured Standard (IFS)
- The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety
- Safe Quality Food (SQF) 2000 Code
- Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000
- US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
For pharmaceutical manufacturers, Safeline X-ray's technology can facilitate compliance with:
- Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) coming into force in the UK in 2019
- US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA)
- US Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
- European Commission Eudralex V30