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Article | January 6, 2009
X-ray systems enhance hot dog QA
During 2008, a leading hot dog manufacturer installed PowerChek Plus x-ray inspection systems from Mettler-Toledo Safeline (www.mt.com/safelineus) on six separate packaging lines.
The systems are positioned after the horizontal form-fill-seal operations and before case packing. Using a vertical single beam, an electronically controlled low-powerered x-ray generator, and proprietary data and image analysis software, these x-ray systems detect bone, stone, glass, wood, plastic, and metal (including difficult-to-detect stainless steel).
When the hot dog producer built the manufacturing plant in 2004, the company installed what was then state-of-the-art processing and packaging equipment, including metal detectors, on every line. In 2007, the company analyzed and re-evaluated the equipment to identify areas that could be improved. They decided to take the quality assurance program to the next level by installing x-ray inspection systems to achieve better detection of bone and other foreign materials in the products and packages.
The project manager at the hot dog manufacturer notes, “Our number one company-wide directive is focused on food safety and quality. We wanted a system that would detect foreign material with consistent sensitivity, and we considered x-ray systems from numerous manufacturers. We looked for user-friendly features to make operation and maintenance easier. We also wanted a supplier that could customize the design for our application. The Safeline equipment offered the best performance and ease of use, and Mettler-Toledo Safeline was able and willing to custom-build to our specifications.”
Customization of the x-ray systems was important because the hot dog producer was swapping out the old metal detectors for the new x-ray systems and needed to match them to existing conveyor widths and lengths for proper adaptation to the lines. The project manager points out, “With the customized layout, Mettler-Toledo Safeline saved us a couple hundred thousand dollars in installation costs. And our machinery manufacturer sales rep from Formula Packaging (www.formulapackaging.com), did a good job formulating our options and helping us identify the best systems for our applications.”
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