An Overview of Inline X-Ray Machines for the Food Industry

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Having quality products is important for any business, but it’s even more vital when poor products could affect people’s health. As a business in the food industry, you need to make sure your food is safe — and that means finding any defects or contaminants before your products leave the production facility.

Inline x-ray machines can reduce risk and make finding potential problems easier. At TDI Packsys, we offer high-quality x-ray inspection systems and can help break down what the industry uses them for, their advantages, and some of the challenges they face.

What Are Inline X-Ray Machines?

Trying to detect contaminants in food packaging can be difficult. Your team may have a keen eye for detail, but even the most detail-oriented person can make mistakes. Sometimes, defects or contaminants aren’t visible to the human eye; in cases like these, defective products could go out to the public undetected, resulting in serious consequences down the line.

Inline x-ray machines help prevent this problem. As the name implies, these are x-ray machines incorporated into the production line. Companies use them to scan a product for problems the average individual might miss.

How Inline X-Ray Machines in the Food Industry Work

beer bottles on a conveyor belt

Many businesses in the food industry can take advantage of inline x-ray machines. These machines follow a relatively standard process to scan food items and detect contaminants, regardless of the industry.

X-Ray Generation for Food Inspection

Before any food product goes to the public, it should undergo inspection. An inline x-ray machine can generate an image to help with this inspection — whether you need to present that image to inspectors or use it for your own personal records.

X-Ray Detection for Food Products

As your products move through production, they’ll eventually reach the inspection phase. Your x-ray machine is incorporated directly into the product line, allowing items to pass through it before they’re approved to ship.

These machines utilize a flat panel detector to scan products for stones, bones, or plastic shards. These detectors send high-frequency magnetic radiation into the product, which produces an image. Variations in light can indicate where potential contaminants or defects are.

Image Processing and Analysis

Once the x-ray is complete, the machine will begin processing the image. Many machines come equipped with an analysis feature that scans the image for defects or contaminants, making note of them automatically. That said, it can still be beneficial to train employees to read x-rays in case of potential concerns.

Reject Mechanisms and Quality Control

Once the machine locates contaminants, it can automatically remove an item from the product line using a rejection conveyor. By doing so, food production businesses can streamline their overall production process and ensure only quality products reach consumers.

Uses of Inline X-Ray Machines in the Food Industry

different products with magnifier focused on fish and lemon

An inline x-ray machine is excellent for defect detection in a wide variety of food products. Because of this, it’s found several different uses in the food industry.

Contaminant Detection

Keeping contaminants out of food is important to protect the public’s health. Unfortunately, even the cleanest, most careful facilities can’t entirely prevent the risk of contamination. Contaminants like wood, metal, or stone may end up in food products, and without the proper detection tools, you may not know until it’s too late.

Inline x-ray machines address this issue. Because they help detect unseen problems within food packaging and the food items themselves, they can allow you to find and remove contaminants.

Quality Assurance

As a business in the food industry, you want to make sure you produce the best possible products. Sending out items with defects can harm your reputation and lead to consequences. Inline x-ray machines allow you to remove any subpar products from the production line, ensuring you only offer the highest quality items.

Compliance with Food Safety Regulations

The FDA sets standards for any food or beverage sold to the public. Inspecting products before they go to market is critical to making sure each item meets these standards. Unfortunately, proper inspections can sometimes be difficult without technological assistance.

X-ray technology makes inspections easier. Businesses can use inline x-ray machines to make sure that their products meet all safety regulations, helping to avoid potential problems in the future.

What Are the Advantages of Inline X-Ray Machines?

blue arrow printed on wooden blocks

Inline x-ray machines come with a wide range of advantages for businesses in the food industry, including, but not limited to:

  • Catching hidden problems. Many contaminants in food products aren’t obvious to the naked eye. X-ray machines circumvent this issue by locating hidden problems for you, preventing contaminated products from going out to the public.
  • Automating certain processes. Depending on how technologically advanced your inline x-ray machine is, you may be able to reduce the need for human intervention. Some products will automatically detect contaminants, remove defective products, and more. In addition, manually checking for defects can be a tiring task; inline x-ray machines can handle the hard work for you, helping to streamline production.
  • Reducing the risk of FDA penalties. Failing to comply with FDA regulations can result in serious consequences. In addition, if you send out a defective product, you could face potential legal repercussions. Inline x-ray machines help you catch contaminants with greater accuracy, which means you lower the risk of sending out defective products and the consequences that come with it.
  • Increase production speed. Inline x-ray machines operate at high speeds, allowing them to find and detect problems faster than a human could. As such, you can increase production speed without running the risk of sending out defective products.

Challenges and Limitations of Inline X-Ray Machines

While inline x-ray machines offer incredible advantages, they also face some challenges. These include:

  • Difficulty detecting certain contaminants. While inline x-ray machines can detect many contaminants, they still have to keep up with production speed. This means that they might miss smaller contaminants.
  • Potential concerns integrating x-ray machines into your existing system. You likely already have a functioning product line set up. Trying to integrate an x-ray machine into this system is possible, but it can come with complications. As such, it’s beneficial to work with your supplier during setup; they can help you determine how a machine can integrate smoothly into your existing design.
  • Proper training for using x-ray machines. X-ray equipment utilizes complex technology that the average individual likely isn’t familiar with. Because of this, trying to operate one can sometimes be difficult. If you want to get the most out of your machine, then you’ll need to train your employees properly.
  • Potential budgeting concerns. Inline x-ray machines come with a high price tag; although they may pay for themselves eventually, not every business can afford that initial purchase price. You’ll need to take the time to examine your budget to determine if buying one is feasible.

Despite these challenges, though, purchasing inline x-ray machines is still an excellent decision for countless companies. But how do you choose a food x-ray machine that’s right for your needs, and where can you find a quality product?

TDI Pa cksys can help you explore your options and find the right inline x-ray machine for your company. Call (877) 834-6750 and see what we can do.

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