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Eagle Product Inspection, formerly Smiths Detection: Eagle Product Inspection, formerly Smiths Detection: Eagle Product Inspection, formerly Smiths Detection: Easy-opening pouch, tough-to-open box (sidebar)

X-ray inspection

While the new shipping case adds security to the products to be shipped, PTK is also pioneering the use of X-ray inspection of shipping cases in the tomato products business, according to Ron Peters, president of Paradise Tomato Kitchens.

"Very recently, we began to use an X-ray inspector that scans each and every case of product we produce," he says. "The device produces a digital image of each case that we store, should we ever need to refer to it." Made by Smiths Heimann (Alcoa, TN), the inspector is extremely accurate, according to Peters.

Along with examining each case for contamination of product, Peters says, its sensitivity is so great it will alert the plant should there be any inconsistency in the density of the product. "It can tell the difference between a piece of bell pepper or a chunk of tomato in a salsa, for example, versus a piece of metal or glass or stone."

Peters says the X-ray device does have to be recalibrated between certain products because of their characteristics, especially when particulates are involved. But he says many of PTK's products can be run without special calibration.

"We've promoted this inspection step to our customers, and most of them are very excited about it," Peters says with enthusiasm. "Many of them have told us that we've been the first of all their suppliers to move into X-ray inspection."

Yes, the move was made for added safety and security. But, as Peters admits, the X-ray inspector is just another example of a company that readily embraces new technologies. "That's one of the goals of our company."

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