Minebea Intec’s X-ray inspection systems enable customers all over the world to carry out safe and reliable inspection of raw materials and packaged products. Continuous development of the systems increases not only efficiency but also flexibility when it comes to selecting packaging materials.
In order to ensure higher and more consistent quality for consumers, one of the most important tasks is to prevent contamination of food and beverages. Undetected foreign objects can cause injuries, lead to costly product recalls and cause considerable harm to a company’s public image.
Food producers all over the world go to great lengths to avoid these kinds of problems during production as part of industrial standards such as HACCP, IFS and BRC. Various technologies are deployed to detect contamination.
Metal detectors are suitable for detecting even the smallest metal foreign objects; vision systems help to identify deviations from parameters such as size, shape and colour and hyperspectral imaging is used for the spectral analysis of food or packaging quality. X-ray inspection is another method for detecting foreign objects in a product.
The variety of foods and types of packaging that consumers can choose these days is wider than ever. As a result, food and beverage producers find themselves confronted with a vast number of potential sources of error during production and so will have numerous specifications for each of these processes, which can only be met in part by using combinations of the technologies described above.
Foreign object free sweeteners - guaranteed?
HCP Health Care Products has enjoyed great success in using X-ray inspection to detect contamination in the production of sweeteners and their packaging. The UK-based company, which was founded over 25 years ago, is also known as 'The Sweetener Company'. It produces sweeteners for big brands and supermarkets in the UK and all over the world and in the UK it is one of the largest manufacturers in the industry.
HCP was looking for a reliable inspection solution for one of its customers and their packaging. The packaging in question is sealed with a screw cap and metal foil. This foil prevented safe inspection with a metal detector, as any metallic foreign objects could not be clearly identified among the sweetener tablets.
“In this situation there are two possible solutions”, said Dr Thorsten Vollborn, Global Product Manager, “One option is to adjust the process so that the metal detection can be carried out before the final sealing of the packaging. However, this procedure would give rise to a risk of contamination that neither we nor the customer are willing to accept. The better option is to use an X-ray inspection device, which enables safe detection of any contamination in containers that have already been sealed.”