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Food container xray inspection.
Food container xray inspection.

Reducing liability in food processing and packaging


Issued by Production Packaging Supplies - Dec 12th 2017, 16:42

Metals contaminants and other foreign materials that may accidentally taint packaged food during the production cycle, can put companies at extremely high financial risk with the potential loss of millions of dollars and long-term, if not irreparable, damage to their brand reputation.

Foreign objects found in food products are the main source of recalls or rejections, as well as being a major cause of complaints from the public. This undesirable attention can quickly escalate with today's prevalent use of social media.

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system and IP Code (IEC standard 60529), which are followed by reputable food processing companies, highlight these risks to ensure better hygiene standards as well as fewer parts, materials and packaging defects through the implementation of stricter safety control standards. These safety control standards are implemented to prevent injury or illness to both humans and animals during food manufacturing and packaging.

Inspection Equipment
Various preventative measures and technologies are being used to mitigate the accidental inclusion of metal contaminants and other foreign objects into food products. Production Packaging Supplies (PPS), which has a national footprint in South Africa, is one of the leading companies which offers a variety of configurable contaminant detection equipment to food processing companies to minimise these types of risks.

Some of the inspection products and systems on offer from PPS include;

• Checkweighers
• DMT Software
• Integrated Inspection Machines
• Metal Detectors
• Vision Inspection Systems
• X-ray Inspection

A Checkweigher is an automatic or manual machine that checks the packaged weight of a product towards the end of a production process, to ensure that it is the correct weight and to avoid waste. PPS offers a wide range of configurable solutions for dynamic weighing with extremely high accuracy and reliability. These systems may also be integrated with metal detection systems and have parts that are easily removable to allow for quick cleaning and maintenance. A touchscreen interface assists with fast configuration, thereby maximising productivity.

Metal Detectors
Metal detectors from PPC perform product inspection for both metal and non-metal contaminants with BRC-standard compliancy accuracy. These highly sensitive machines reject defective items from the production line, with a reduction in false-reject losses. A variety of sturdy configurations, easily removable parts and an intuitive graphic display interface allows these metal detectors to ensure a fast configuration and quick product change to maximise process line productivity.

Integrated Inspection Machines
PPS offers a combined solution to integrate the checkweighing and metal contaminant detection processes with their integrated machines. This solution is cost-effective and allows for reduced overall dimensions, a single operator interface and centralised statistical analysis. These machines are highly configurable and adapt to a wide variety of product sizes and features in line with ISO-FDA, HAACP, MID and BRC standards.

DMT Software
By making use of DMT Software, PPS enables food processing companies to monitor all production lines from a central point to reduce contamination and other process line risks, thereby increasing productivity and reducing liability issues. This quality control application performs an efficient and precise analysis of the entire production line, to record every product transit on every single machine. Production and Quality Managers are provided with essential statistics and real-time functionality to optimise their production processes.

Vision Inspection Systems
The vision inspection systems offered by PPS can be used in any industry where quality control is a requirement; from assisting robotic systems to correctly position parts to streamlining entire manufacturing processes and identifying problems on the production line.

In the food processing industry, the vision inspection system helps to identify;
• Product packaging mix-ups
• Incorrect labelling
• Starch mould
• Glass contamination
• Issues with neck, cap, scoop insert and empty can issues
• Code reading

The modular setup of the vision inspection system combines flexibility and functionality to fit into existing production lines, to increase uptime and reduce expenditure through losses.

X-ray Inspection Systems
X-ray inspection systems contribute toward securing the product integrity and prevent risks related to consumer claims and market recalls by basing inspection operations on differences in densities. It is therefore possible for a single system to inspect a series of unwanted issues, such as;
• Metal and Non-Metal Contaminants
• Packaging defects
• Air bubble detection
• Missing necessary elements of the finished product

Low levels of radiation are used to ensure that the product is not damaged and the operator is equipped with a touchscreen of an extremely intuitive user interface. Minimal maintenance is required and servicing is quick.

By taking a pro-active approach towards foreign object detection, food manufacturers will not only be prepared for the unexpected but will also increase their productivity, cut costs and better manage their liabilities and ultimately - their brand reputation.

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