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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 – the same material and density as the packaging itself. 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 ensure all physical contaminants are detected.
Can the glass container itself effect the performance of the x-ray system?
Glass jars are created with natural variations and inconsistencies. While the overall weight and outer shape of a 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 x-ray inspection systems are available for the inspection of glass containers, including systems with single beams, split beams, combination beams and angled beams.
How does an x-ray system inspect glass and is there any unique advantage for glass inspection?
METTLER TOLEDO offers a range of glass inspection systems. Horizontal beam x-ray systems are most commonly 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 it. 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.
Do multiple beams offer advantages when inspecting glass containers?
The probability of detection can be improved by using two or more beams. For example; a fragment of glass is never a perfect sphere, it’s normally an irregular 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 it easier to detect. So inspecting the same jar simultaneously from different angles increases the chance of shard detection.
What test pieces do you use for validating x-ray performance?
It is recommended that glass test pieces are made of the container glass you are inspecting, as this glass type is most representative of a possible contaminant. It is also recommended that manufacturers use irregular shaped glass fragments as these will provide the greatest challenge to inspection software tools.
How do you make sure glass containers are not damaged when rejected from high-speed production lines?
A number of different reject systems are available. 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 can be used. These smoothly divert containers at high speeds onto a parallel reject conveyor without damaging the glass jars.
Can x-ray systems provide additional checks over and above contamination inspection?
In a single pass, at high speeds the x-ray inspection system can perform several inspection tasks simultaneously including:
- Monitoring fill levels
- Detecting damaged containers
- Checking closures.
This provides complete product integrity and ensures only perfect product leaves the manufacturing plant.
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.