Food manufacturers are responsible for providing consumers with safe products. While clean production facilities and equipment help to limit the risk of contaminants, unwanted metal fragments and particulates can still wind up in the final product.
As heavy machinery wears down over time, components shed particles, leaving behind trace amounts of metal and plastic. These contaminants can be challenging to detect and pose a serious food safety concern for consumers.
Canned food detection machines are vital inspection tools in the food industry to ensure quality and food safety. Metal detection and contaminant detection machines scan canned foods for particulates and alert manufacturers to public health risks in their products.
By detecting contaminants, inspection devices allow food producers to provide quality assurance to customers who purchase their food products.
How Do Detection Devices Inspect Canned Foods?
Once food passes through the canning processes, a simple metal detector can no longer identify all possible contaminants. One of the most effective solutions to this issue is to employ x-ray technology canned food detection machines to passively identify contaminants without damaging the cans or the food inside them.
X-ray inspection provides superior contamination detection by penetrating through the metal surface to provide an image of the can’s contents. By highlighting solids and dense matter, the x-ray inspection device detects a wide range of hazardous contaminants, regardless of their locations, compositions, and shapes.
Because contaminants can enter at any stage of the production process, x-ray inspection systems must be capable of identifying the presence of any contaminant that is found in a factory setting.
What Contaminants Can Appear in Canned Goods?
The first step to protecting customers from contaminants is to identify the types of contaminants that can appear in canned goods. Knowing what to look for allows food manufacturers to calibrate their contamination detection systems for certain materials with an increased probability of appearing in their product.
When it comes to food processing industries that use metal cans, both organic and inorganic materials can enter during the canning process. Contaminants with an increased probability of showing up in cans include:
- Metal (parts, fragments, particles)
- Glass (shards, dust)
- Bone (shards, fragments)
- Plastics (components, shreds, particles)
- Stone (pebbles, shards, sand)
Over time, heavy machinery can shed metal fragments during the manufacturing process. Contaminants also come from plastic packaging, other foods in the facility, defective machinery, employees, and outside sources.
A food x-ray can detect each of these substances, helping manufacturers ensure product quality by identifying the presence of glass, metal, stone, plastic, and bone. However, the likelihood of certain contaminants depends on the types of machinery and food a company produces.
The contaminants present in a manufacturing setting also vary between production facilities that handle vegetables, meat, ready meals, and pet food.
What Are the Limitations of a Canned Food Detection Machine in the Food Industry?
X-ray inspection systems can detect minuscule amounts of contaminants and are key to providing quality assurance. However, x-ray inspection technology does have limitations and works within specific parameters.
Unlike factory metal detection devices, which can detect metal of any size or quantity, x-ray inspection systems distinguish between materials solely based on density. While these inspection devices can identify a broad range of material types, x-ray inspection is less capable of distinguishing between materials of low density.
Small amounts of less dense materials like fabric, paper, and hair may not appear on the machine’s image, thereby limiting the range of its contaminant detection capabilities.
Food x-ray inspection systems may also have difficulty with products that have ingredients with different densities or that contain an especially dense food. Different textures in cans may confuse the machine and lead to false contamination alerts. In both cases, a company must adjust its x-ray inspection systems to distinguish between different materials of varying densities.
What Challenges Do Food Manufacturers Face with Canned Food Detection Machines?
The many benefits of using a contaminant detection machine for product safety are not without accompanying challenges. One of the central challenges is adjusting the software recognition technology to account for different packaging and food products.
When it comes to food preservation, the model of can a company uses to package its product can vary depending on the type of food. While an x-ray inspection machine can detect almost any contaminant, manufacturers must calibrate the software to recognize different can models to help the program distinguish between the packaging and the presence of foreign materials. Otherwise, the software can misinterpret a feature of metal cans, leading to the system’s rejection of safe products.
Another vital consideration is the fill level of a can or container. Manufacturers producing food that are also interested in monitoring fill levels must calibrate x-ray inspection systems to distinguish between the fill line and foreign contaminants in metal cans. By monitoring fill levels, an inspection device can flag under- or over-filled containers and remove products that do not meet the standard specifications.
Food detection machines also interpret homogeneous foods differently than composite foods or foods with varying fill levels and ingredients. While the software can easily detect foreign material in a homogenous food, a composite food with several ingredients can range in appearance between cans. To account for this, companies must adjust their inspection systems’ software to recognize an acceptable range of fill levels within metal cans.
TDI Packsys – Ensuring Food Safety with Superior Contamination Detection and Inspection Solutions
At TDI Packsys, we provide metal detection and x-ray inspection systems to companies looking to improve their food safety standards. To help you protect your consumers from the risk of contaminants, we offer x-ray inspection devices capable of detecting the full spectrum of foreign materials that can contaminate canned foods and impact product quality.
Our x-rays are sensitive enough to identify contaminants as small as 0.3 mm, making our machines 25% more sensitive than our closest industry competitors. From bulk pet food to pharmaceuticals, our state-of-the-art canned food detection machines can protect your company from the risk of contaminated cans reaching the market.
For more information about our TDI Packsys products and services, call us at 877-834-6750.