Thursday, October 17, 2013

Combination X-ray, Metal Detection… and Checkweighing



Loma Systems / Lock Inspection (USA) - Over the past few years as retailers’ demands have been growing increasingly more stringent, food processors are turning to more comprehensive forms of inspection. Combination systems are becoming more popular, integrating the technologies of multiple inspection systems into one physical system. Many food processors utilize metal detection and checkweighing combination systems to meet both contaminant detection as well as national weights and measures legislation. Installing a combination system with integral controls can simplify the product inspection process without compromising detection performance.

There is one combination of technologies that has experienced a recent growth in popularity – the combination between x-ray inspection and checkweighing. And, if used to its fullest extent, the x-ray system also performs metal detection. While gaining popularity due to retailer demands, x-ray inspection has traditionally been met with the objections of cost, space and durability. In addition, x-ray inspection systems have typically been viewed as the last line of defense, not an integral part of the inspection process.

X-ray inspection systems are versatile, inspecting for metallic and non-metallic contaminants such as glass, stone, calcified bone, high-density plastics, flavor clumps and even rubber. X-ray systems add an extra product quality component by identifying other potentially critical characteristics such as missing or broken components, incorrect density and fill levels as well as damaged or malformed packaging. This covers the x-ray and metal detection portion of production inspection.

Add the checkweighing technology and you have a versatile system capable of handling weight control to mitigate the risks associated with under or over filling packs. Unlike traditional checkweighers, the checkweighing function as incorporated in x-ray systems is unaffected by pack rate, speed, vibration, air turbulence, pack orientation and stability.

Loma Systems, the world’s leading engineering and manufacturing company specializing in metal detection, checkweighing and x-ray inspection systems for the food, pharmaceutical and packaging industries, offers proprietary software called Loma X-weigh. X-weigh integrates checkweighing technology into any existing Loma x-ray inspection system.

The X-weigh software complies with national weights and measures legislation and automatically calculates the correct reject set points for Canadian Average Weight legislation and American Minimum or MAV weight control. X-weigh supports a comprehensive reports package showing trends, give-away and batch analysis. The statistical information that the software provides can be networked via ethernet to a central plant computer or SCADA system.

Loma X-weigh allows for multi-lane checkweighing, which means a number of lines can be run through the system with each pack inspected according to its own target weight parameters. X-weigh also offers combined weighing and object checking, which will ensure that packs with more than one weight zone are compliant for both overall pack weight and individual weight zones.

X-weigh operates through a single, common user interface, designed to enable product set-up in seconds. The technology is simple and quick to configure and is highly accurate, with accuracies comparable to traditional checkweighers.

Combining all three technologies into one system saves line space. While an x-ray system is often physically larger than a standard metal detector or standard checkweigher, food processing companies ultimately save on space that would normally be allocated for separate systems. Combing the technologies into one integral system also aids serviceability and maintenance.

One of the more common questions about x-ray inspection systems and the primary reason for end-of-line placement is centralized around durability. Standard x-ray systems have been built to follow industry trends, often set by food processors who are following retailers’ codes of practice, thus often used as the last line of defense.

Loma has engineered the new X5 x-ray inspection system to deliver maximum performance in round-the-clock, harsh environments. Rounded, sloping surfaces and a solid tubular framework can withstand the rigors of harsh washdown regimes. Instead of the usual stack light, the X5 incorporate an easy cleaning dome signal, which displays system status at a glance. The quick release mechanism allows the conveyor belt to be changed within just a few minutes and washed down under extreme conditions. Impermeable seals added to the x-ray cabinet prevent water ingress.

All of these changes enable the X5 to be placed inline and to be used as a primary source of inspection – whether it be x-ray, metal detection… or checkweighing..

For more information about the Loma X-weigh X-ray Inspection System with Checkweighing click here.

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