Food manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe for consumers. However, manually inspecting large quantities of food that pass through packaging plants can be a daunting task for workers, and humans are prone to mistakes. That’s where a food x-ray machine comes in handy.
Learn about every advantage of x-ray inspection systems, from cost-effectiveness to production line efficiency. This technology is transforming the food industry and making products safer for millions of people.
How It Works
Before we dive into the advantages of x-ray inspection systems, let’s explain the ins and outs of this complex machinery. Food x-ray systems work using a process called radiographing to check for contaminants and inadequacies in a food product. The process involves the following steps:
- The machine sends high-frequency electromagnetic radiation beams to a target wall.
- Manufacturers put a food object in front of that target wall, which emits various beam patterns to the target wall.
- These patterns create an x-ray image that shows the density of the product and detects contaminants.
In other words, food x-ray machines make it possible to see a picture of the inside of a product. Any abnormal images that come through the machine likely mean a contaminant is somewhere within the packaging. This non-destructive testing process is safe to use, makes the production line more efficient, and promotes a higher level of food safety by automatically detecting items on the production line that contain abnormal densities, which could be rocks, plastic, or other contaminants.
Benefits for Food Safety
Contaminated food products can put millions of consumers in harm’s way. Imagine taking a bite out of food and biting down on a stone or piece of metal. Despite various preventative measures, sometimes foreign objects slip through the cracks during food production, and wind up inside the product. When unsafe contaminated food items make their way to grocery store shelves, it’s a concern for both the consumer and the manufacturer.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of x-ray inspection systems is the level of protection they provide consumers. These machines can detect various foreign objects within food packaging, including:
- Hard plastics
All of these objects have higher densities, so x-ray machines can identify them easily within a food product with a lower density. When x-rays identify these contaminated food items, they can be discarded automatically to promote food safety for end consumers.
If you’ve heard that x-rays can irradiate food, know that this is one of the biggest myths surrounding food x-ray technology. Suppliers don’t have to worry about putting food products through an inspection system and experiencing the dangerous effects of radiation. These machines use minimal radiation during testing, so food products are still safe to eat. Government regulations are in place to make sure that there is no chance of radiation beams impacting food.
Benefits for Product Quality
Food safety isn’t the only thing that an x-ray system will enhance. Another key advantage of x-ray inspection systems is the impact they have on product quality. The equipment allows manufacturers to complete a variety of quality checks to ensure consistently high food quality, including:
- Measuring the package’s weight: Manufacturers can guarantee that a product meets standard weight requirements.
- Identifying any missing components: The x-ray system can detect any missing caps or other issues that lead to incomplete packaging.
- Monitoring fill levels: Track how much air space is in a package and adjust it so the product meets the proper fill level.
- Checking for proper package sealing: Prevent contaminants from affecting the product by keeping the package sealed tightly before sending it through the production line.
A food x-ray system can give manufacturers peace of mind that they’re producing high-quality goods that meet all their standards. Suppliers can maintain accuracy and uniformity within their production line when they use an advanced inspection system.
Safety Measures Enhancement
Say a quality assurance employee notices a stone on an x-ray image of produce items. This contaminant isn’t uncommon for raw products that come from fields. However, the manufacturer still needs to make sure that all subsequent products are safe.
X-ray inspection systems allow manufacturers to assess how often contaminants occur. Depending on the data, they can put advanced safety measures in place to prevent further contamination issues. These systems make it easier to plan for unexpected setbacks and move forward quickly.
Integration Into Production
For busy food manufacturers, making sudden changes to the production line can be difficult. Some fear that changing too much at once will lead to business interruptions and slow operations. However, one major advantage of x-ray inspection systems is how seamlessly manufacturers can integrate them into current production practices.
These machines allow manufacturers to comply with industry safety regulations, so there is no need to set up different processes. With a bit of training, employees across food packing plants can use this technology and make sure that only safe, ready-to-consume products leave the facility.
Cost and Time Savings
Say a major food supplier ships out a product that several consumers intend to eat, only to find plastic shards mixed into the packaging. The issue prompts a massive recall and costs the company millions of dollars in lost products and investigative fees, not to mention one of the biggest losses of all: customer loyalty.
One solution could be to allocate a team of employees to physically inspect every product and ensure its safety. However, this is a waste of time, money, and resources. Investing in an automated inspection system speeds up the production line without compromising food safety.
Modern technology, like innovative x-ray inspection systems, usually provides a large return on investment so producers can save more money. These machines can run for years with minimal maintenance before companies need to replace them.
Business Focus and Productivity
Consumers reap many of the rewards of food inspection practices, but suppliers also greatly benefit. One crucial advantage of x-ray inspection technology is how it boosts business productivity. Adding an x-ray machine to the production line allows products to quickly pass through inspection, where operators can then deem them safe for consumption.
This efficient process improves productivity throughout the manufacturing plant, and allows suppliers to meet their demands. Should a foreign object turn up in product packaging, suppliers can quickly pull the item from the line and determine any issues inside the facility that might lead to further contamination.
Versatility in Application Areas
X-ray technology and food inspection systems are constantly improving. Such advancements make it possible to safely scan a wide variety of food products for contaminants with impressive accuracy. This versatility benefits manufacturers throughout the food and beverage industry and beyond.
For example, x-ray machines are available for industry-specific uses, such as differentiating chicken or fish bones from meat products. Others come with a design specifically for inspecting products that come in cans, bottles, or jars. As a manufacturer, you can select a machine that caters to your needs and ensures food safety.
Bring every advantage of x-ray inspection systems to your business with the help of TDI Packsys. Our innovative food x-ray machines will help you save time and money on the production line and ensure that you put out the safest product possible. Browse our selection of systems online or contact us today to learn more.