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X-ray systems enhance hot dog QA

Six packaging lines receive x-ray vision for product and package quality assurance.
FILED IN:  Machinery  > Inspection  > X-ray
During 2008, a leading hot dog manufacturer that declined to be identified installed PowerChek Plus x-ray inspection systems from Mettler-Toledo Safeline ( 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 (QA) 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.

Custom-built for safety and quality

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 (, did a good job formulating our options and helping us identify the best systems for our applications."
-Judy Rice

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