XNEXT

Food Safety

Low and high-density foreign bodies & contaminants detection

Food Safety

WE CHECK IT, YOU EAT IT:

XSpectra® technology: the new generation of X-ray inspection systems also applies to food safety. It is capable to detect, with high accuracy, both low and high density foreign bodies and contaminants.

 

In the Industry 4.0 era, the innovative concept of total automation of the processing lines reduces the possibility of human errors and increases the productivity. On the other side, this requires the necessity of further and deeper controls on every single piece produced. The presence of foreign bodies inside processed foodstuff is really harmful for the health of each customer and represents a huge issue for all the food companies due to market recalls.

Nowadays, Quality Control Department of each food company knows that it is a straightforward task to detect high density foreign bodies hidden inside non-transparent foodstuff and non-transparent containers. Pieces of metal, lead, stones, bones and glass are visible with most X-ray machines equipped with conventional X-ray detectors, based on scintillator technology. Challenges are confined to the foreign body dimension, mostly associated with the detector pixel pitch and the scan speed, related to the electronic signal processing and the CPU algorithm analysis. Even the foodstuff homogeneity is crucial to determine the success of foreign body detection. Conventional X-ray detectors rely on the ability to find dark spot inside a brighter medium, but a non-homogeneous medium can have natural dark spot, due to different densities. Dual-energy detectors can overcome, in some situation, this last issue, thanks to the ability to compare low energy and high energy x-ray images. These detectors represent a real step ahead, even though they are based on the technology of two scintillators overlapped and separated by a filter. But a huge set of foreign bodies that can be found in a real processing line is completely undetectable by both kind of conventional X-ray detectors. Low density foreign bodies such as wood, different kind of low density polymers, cigarette butt, dry fruit shells and insects are out of their conventional capabilities. There is no way to distinguish them from air bubbles or low density regions of the product and, in the worst case, these bodies are completely invisible.

In this scenario, our innovative detector emerges and gives the possibility to go another step further. Its increased sensitivity gives us the possibility to detect low density foreign bodies, impossible to be found until today. Its ability to collect the spectrum of each material inspected allows us to identify the unique atomic number, in other worlds, the intrinsic nature of the objects scanned. It is like taking their fingerprint and use it to distinguish the foreign bodies hidden inside the foodstuff.

 

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