A Complete Guide On How Do X-Ray Inspection Systems Work

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vegetables and fruits in a paper bag

Do you want to learn more about food X-ray inspection systems and how they work? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

You may have heard other food manufacturers or food industry professionals mention X-ray inspection technology and felt intimidated by the thought of harmful radiation. At TDI Packsys, we want to clarify this misconception and help you better understand the use of X-ray technology in a food-safe environment.

We provide X-ray systems that can improve your company’s food safety measurements, quality control, product consistency, and contamination detection abilities. Below, our experienced team will explain how these X-ray systems work and what you should consider before purchasing one.

What Is an X-Ray?

In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays emitting from an accidental chemical reaction in his lab. X-rays are invisible forms of electromagnetic radiation with very short wavelengths.

An X-ray system emits beams of these wavelengths into a controlled area. Only particular objects can absorb an X-ray beam.

For example, in a human X-ray, your bones will absorb the X-ray energy, allowing them to appear on-screen beneath your skin, muscles, and tissues, which let the X-rays pass through.

When most people hear the term “X-ray,” they think about the machinery used in doctor’s offices to examine the inside of a person’s body. You can use X-ray machines for many other purposes as well. Inspection technology allows you to see the inside of objects that would otherwise be impossible to see.

How Does X-Ray Food Inspection Work?

x ray of an orange

Food X-ray inspection systems emit high-frequency electromagnetic radiation beams toward a target wall. You will place the desired food product in front of this target. The item will absorb portions of the X-rays, causing patterns of beams to reach the target wall.

It’s like making a shadow puppet. The light from your flashlight is the X-ray beam, your hand is the food product, and the image on the wall is your final result. Once you receive the X-ray image, you can examine the density of the product and other critical information.

The most sophisticated technologies use multiple X-rays to examine more complex layers of the object so that you can better understand the product’s makeup. Our X-ray detection machines at TDI Packsys use state-of-the-art technology to help you:

  • Detect physical contaminants in your products
  • Remove missing or broken products
  • Adhere to all critical control points
  • Streamline the inspection process

Why Do You Need an X-Ray Inspection System?

The main reason that food manufacturers need X-ray inspection systems is to adhere to food safety requirements and food industry quality standards. When operating at a large scale, mistakes can happen because you don’t have the time to examine each package by hand. An X-ray inspection system allows you to detect contaminants within your products easily.

X-ray technology can detect the following contaminants:

  • Metal fragments: Like a metal detector, X-ray inspection systems search for pieces of metal within the product, including stainless steel, ferrous, and nonferrous metal. Unlike metal detectors, X-rays can discover many other contaminants as well. You should select An X-ray inspection system gives you more detection sensitivity than a metal detector.
  • Defective glass: An X-ray inspection system can locate broken or malformed glass particles.
  • Animal parts: X-ray inspection also analyzes the product for animal parts, like bone fragments.
  • Stones: During manufacturing, small pieces of rocks can end up in the wrong place. Use an X-ray system to ensure that no stones or debris accidentally land in your products.
  • Hard plastics and other foreign contaminants: X-ray inspection machines can also discover hard materials like plastic, silicone, rubber, and other foreign objects you may not want in your final product.

Aside from contaminant detection, food inspection X-ray machines also allow you to complete the following quality checks:

  • Seal integrity: Ensure that each product has the proper seals to prevent contaminants from entering later in the manufacturing process.
  • Package weight: Measure products by weight to ensure that all items have consistent and precise fill quantities.
  • The density of the product: Measure the food item’s density to discover weight fluctuations from unknown contaminants.
  • Missing product components: Ensure that each product includes all necessary details, like the complete packaging, food products, air space, and more. For example, you can locate any items with a missing or broken cap.
  • Appropriate fill levels: Monitoring fill levels allows you to maintain production line consistency and reduce waste.
  • Adherence to food safety requirements: If you need to issue a recall, inspection machines can help you understand where defects occurred so that you know which products are contaminated.

Are X-Ray Food Inspection Systems Dangerous?

woman thinking if food x ray is dangerous

Like metal detectors, X-ray food inspection systems are not dangerous for humans. X-ray inspections do not alter the food product in any way, nor do they harm individuals who consume the food or work around the machinery.

When you compare the radiation found in X-ray systems to the natural background radiation we experience daily, you will find that the former is relatively low. A different chemical process known as neutron radiation can contaminate foods, but X-ray inspection systems do not use this type of radiation.

Imagine that an X-ray is like taking a flash photograph. The flash allows us to see things we couldn’t before, but the light does not harm the subject.

Operating X-Ray Inspection Machines Safely

Since X-ray inspection systems contain many safeguards that prevent radiation from leaking out of the machine, you don’t have to wear personal protective equipment while operating them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates standards that limit how much exposure each system can emit. As long as you select a machine with FDA approval, you will not need to worry about wearing protective gear.

Our X-ray food inspection machines at TDI Packsys have FDA approval and the highest-quality protective measures. Our products emit radiation far below the FDA restrictions, so even if you operate them every day, you won’t experience any health issues. However, we still recommend that you practice caution when using any workplace equipment and adhere to all company policies.

X-Ray Inspection Limitations

While X-rays can inspect more effectively than metal detection machines, they still have a few limitations. X-ray inspection machines will not pick up on the following potential contaminants in your food products:

  • Light metals, including aluminum, magnesium, and titanium
  • Wood
  • Human hair
  • Low-density plastics
  • Other low-density materials

What to Consider Before Purchasing X-Ray Inspection Systems

engineers discussing about tdi x ray inspection systems

Before purchasing an X-ray inspection system, you should consider the following qualities:

  • Detection sensitivity: What contaminants can the machine detect, and to what degree? Our systems at TDI Packsys offer the most detailed inspection technology on the market, with the ability to locate items as small as 0.3mm.
  • Defect scanning abilities: Can the machine inspect for other types of product defects? The TDI Packsys machines allow you to find potential product deformities before it’s too late.
  • Ease of use: Is this system hard to assemble and set up? Can you save custom settings for easy use in the future? Our products at TDI Packsys allow for convenient personalization options that anyone can use.
  • Operation requirements: Do you need an employee to operate the machine manually? TDI Packsys offers systems that automatically detect contaminants and remove the affected products without manual effort.
  • Software complexity: Is the software easy to use? Our product programs rely on Windows-based software that any non-technical employee will understand.
  • Flexibility: Can the machine fit your products’ different sizes and shapes? If you’re considering TDI Packsys, check out our product details and measurements on our website to determine if they will work for your product needs, or contact our sales department for more information.
  • Data details: What type of data will you receive? Our machinery at TDI Packsys offers detailed logs with informative data about the results of your inspections, such as the percentage of products with contaminants.
  • Machine security: While X-ray systems are safe, any equipment can be dangerous if misused. Look for a system with administrative security and login credentials, like what TDI Packsys offers.
  • Company support options: If you run into any problems, can you easily contact the company for help? At TDI Packsys, we pride ourselves on offering fast, convenient, and informative support channels for our customers.
  • Price: Finally, you should consider how much the product costs and if your business can afford it.

Purchase Top-Notch X-Ray Inspection Equipment from TDI Packsys Today!

When you’re ready to streamline your product quality operation by purchasing top-notch X-ray inspection equipment, contact our team at TDI Packsys. Our sales professionals will discuss a customized solution for your business needs. Call our TDI Packsys team today at (877) 834-6750 for more information!

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