X-ray Inspection Systems for Unpackaged Products
Inline X-ray Inspection Solutions Ensure the Safety and Integrity of Unpackaged Products
METTLER TOLEDO Safeline's x-ray inspection systems for unpackaged food products are relied upon by manufacturers to ensure quality assurance. Typically, these systems are designed to inspect a variety of loose, bulk products such as grains, nuts, confectionery, snacks and cereals. In addition, systems are also well suited to inspecting raw and frozen meat such as beef burger patties and chicken nuggets.
The x-ray inspection equipment provides foreign body detection identifying contaminants, such as calcified bone, glass, metal, mineral stone, high density plastic and rubber in high throughput unpackaged manufacturing applications. Reject devices are set-up to ensure accurate removal of contaminated product, guaranteeing complete brand protection and ensuring food safety for consumers.
Reducing Food Waste
When an unpackaged product inspection system is installed to inspect raw materials, physical contaminants can be removed at the source and immediately traced back to the supplier. Catching contaminants early is also efficient, reducing product waste and costs: defective product can be reworked before additional ingredients are added and damage to processing equipment further downstream is avoided.
Food Quality Assurance
X-ray systems should be installed at identified Critical Control Points (CCPs) throughout the production line to ensure non-conforming products are removed before further value is added. In addition to offering physical contamination detection, our loose-flow x-ray technology simultaneously performs additional inline quality control checks. These include mass measurement and product defects such as shape, holes and edge deviations of uniform products such as burger patties.
What typical loose-flow and unpackaged products would you inspect using x-ray inspection?
X-ray solutions for unpackaged, loose-flow products are specifically designed for the inspection of frozen-formed products, such as burger patties, chicken nuggets, dough balls and pizzas.
We also have solutions for the inspection of bulk and pumped products.
As the product is unpackaged, what part of the x-ray system comes into direct contact with the product itself and how are hygiene requirements are met?
Where unpackaged product is in direct contact with the belt and/or side-skirted guides, transport-handling materials comply with FDA regulations and EU Directives.
Is an x-ray system robust enough to withstand regular harsh wash-down procedures?
Hygienic principles are considered during design. Systems are IP69 rated as standard, including 316 stainless steel used for key product contact areas, making them ideal for harsh wash-down environments. Good system design helps food manufacturers meet HACCP requirements and comply with industry standards. For example, our X39 system has been designed with sloped surfaces and curved edges to minimize standing product and water accumulations during cleaning. Open frame design, drainage slots in catch trays and easy strip down mechanisms, such as belts and components, enable quick and thorough cleaning.
Why is Regulatory Compliance Important?
Regulatory compliance is necessary for manufacturers and retailers to ensure food safety. Installing an x-ray system for unpackaged product inspection helps food manufacturers comply with Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized standards including:
- International Featured Standard for Food (IFS)
- The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety
- Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code
- Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000
- US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
How does the x-ray machine inspect frozen formed foods?
The X39 is a unique offering, designed for the accurate inspection of unpackaged, frozen-formed products even when the product positioning on the belt varies. The X39 X-ray inspection system works in a two-stage inspection process, the integrated laser will inspect for product flakes, product length, width and height as a preliminary check before entering the inspection zone where the x-ray will inspect products for contamination such as calcified bone, glass, metal, mineral stone, high density plastics and rubber, as well as, holes, dents, edge deformities and shape defects. The X39 ensures that the final product meets standards expected by the consumer and the cooking demands of major fast food chains.
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.