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Europe: German bakery plant chooses Ishida’s leak detection system

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Ishida’s AirScan inline system for detecting leaks in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has helped enhance quality control procedures for a new snack product from M-Back GmbH in Germany.

Being produced for dairy company Meggle, the Ofenschnecke is a small puff pastry product filled with a combination of feta cheese and fresh herbs or spinach.

The rolls are packed in thermoformed trays with fill weights of 180 g and 300 g.

When the pastries are packed, product traces may get into the sealing area of the trays.

This can result in leaks, which may cause protective gas to escape and draw in moisture.

In rare cases, external factors can also cause holes in the film.

If such defective packaging is not withheld from distribution, the shelf-life can be significantly reduced and the product appearance can suffer.

The company chose the Ishida AirScan that uses laser technology to detect leaks of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is used in many modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) applications.

The high-performance system checks each individual tray in less than 20 milliseconds for traces of escaping CO2.

It can find holes with a diameter as small as 0.25 mm, at speeds of up to 180 packs per minute.

Users will improve their product quality without any adverse impact on products, as the inspection process does not exert any pressure, unlike conventional inline seal testers, and is therefore completely non-destructive.

The inline system can be integrated into existing packing lines in a few minutes, without requiring any modifications to existing conveyors.

The Ishida AirScan at M-Back has been placed at the end of the packing line, between other control systems and a labeler.

Since its installation, about 3% of packs are identified as having a leak.

These are eliminated using an air reject mechanism and transported to a collection chamber for subsequent repacking.

M-Back’s specification was to reliably identify leaks with a diameter of 0.4mm or above and compliance with this is regularly monitored by inserting a needle of the relevant size into packs and testing them.

“By way of illustration, if you immerse the packs that have been found to be faulty in a water bath, you won’t see any gas coming out,” says head of the packaging department at M-Back Marcel Schwebler.

“In a laboratory, however, we can detect changes in the composition of the gas mixture.”

In a two-shift mode, the Ishida AirScan checks 3,500 packs of Ofenschnecken per hour, which equates to a belt speed of 30 m per minute.

The production data collected can be printed out as shift reports.

M-Back also wants to connect the Ishida AirScan system to production analysis software in future.