Ishida Europe introduces x-ray for large food products
inspection systems for the food industry, launching a new machine
suitable for large products and cartons.
The new IX-GA-65100 can monitor products with dimensions up to 100cm long, 65cm wide and 39cm high. It detects foreign bodies including metal, bone, plastic, glass, stone and hard rubber as well as identifying incomplete packages and those with damaged contents. While detection systems for foreign objects in food are increasingly sophisticated, problems still occur. In November last year UK retailer Marks & Spencer and baked goods maker United Biscuit pulled a range of biscuit products, after processing managers raised the alarm that pieces of thin metal wire had fallen into the finished products. Pieces of metal can cause distress and physical injury to consumers if swallowed, especially if the pieces are sharp or jagged. However, detection in the food industry is sometimes difficult, as traditional metal detectors can often not distinguish between 'legitimate' metal, such as clips on the ends of sausages or aluminium tins, and rogue contaminants. The IX-GA range uses a self-learning Genetic Algorithm (GA) technology to offer maximum detection sensitivity and reliability. Foreign bodies can be detected through aluminium foil and also in tins, regardless of the temperature or the salt and water content of the product. GA technology focuses the machine to identify difficult to detect contaminants with a high degree of accuracy, even at high throughput rates, using image data analysis over a number of inspections. As it is common in food production for similar contamination problems to recur, data logging can help to build up a more precise calibration protocol with each inspection. This enables permanent or recurring defects to be more easily identified and its location in the pack pinpointed. The IX-GA is easy to use and can be controlled via touchscreen on a Windows XP interface. Its user-friendly stainless steel design means the new machine can also be easily cleaned, and the belt conveyor can be removed without tools, according to Ishida Europe, based in the UK. The food being inspected is not affected by radiation and is therefore not subject to compulsory labelling. The safety of operating staff is also safeguarded by three-fold plastic curtains which are filled with lead, ensuring that no radiation can escape from the machine. The system switches off automatically when the door of the machine is opened, or when an operator reaches into the inspection chamber. Ishida claims to be the leading supplier of X-ray monitoring systems in Japan and has recently introduced its latest generation machines into Europe for the first time.