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Americas: X-ray system for safe frozen food production

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Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection launches the Safeline X39 x-ray system for manufacturers of frozen-formed burger patties (beef, pork, chicken, fish and vegetarian) to meet retailer and fast food chain conformity standards and reduce contamination more accurately and efficiently.

“Our new X39 x-ray inspection system has been specifically designed for free flow, frozen formed food applications and is guaranteed to conduct ten integrity checks at 1,800 pieces a minute – an industry first,” says spokesperson Mike Pipe.

Speed is a major consideration for manufacturers needing to ensure conformity of frozen food patties as they cannot be held for longer than eight minutes in a blast freezer without suffering degradation.

It is therefore critical that the product inspection technology used in the manufacturing process is fast and efficient and does not cause unnecessary stoppages that could result in production line downtime.

The X39 conducts 10 integrity checks across multiple lines and accurately targets individual patties for removal in real-time – irrespective of product position and without the need to stop production.

This significantly reduces waste, rework and downtime to deliver bottom-line savings for food manufacturers.

Double checking

The X39 x-ray system has a two-stage inspection process that enables food manufacturers to deliver the highest levels of product consistency and quality with a single machine.

The first stage uses integrated laser technology that determines conformity with pre-programmed product parameters for length, width and height, as well as checking for any flake defects.

Non-conforming products are rejected, while good product continues to the second integrity check.

The second stage uses an x-ray detector to inspect the remaining good product for foreign-body contaminants such as calcified bone, mineral stone, glass, metal and high-density plastic; while simultaneously checking for holes, dents and edge defects, plus any anomalies in mass and shape.

At each stage reject nozzles, using jets of air, accurately target and remove non-conforming products down a gap between consecutive conveyors into a primary rework bin for high accuracy sorting.

If the product is too large to fit in the gap – for example two patties joined together – a rejection flap will automatically remove the item.

The system is equipped with advanced software that makes the system very simple to operate and is designed to ensure that the technology is always fully optimized.

Product changeovers are very quick because menus can be stored, reducing human error.

The software monitors all aspects of the system and provides pre-warnings of the accuracy of the lasers, reject nozzles and reject confirmation sensors.

In addition, the technology records and collects all inspection results for due diligence and food safety legislation requirements.

The X39 is IP69 rated and is designed for ease of cleaning and maintenance to minimize downtime.

For example, tasks such as individual sensor replacement can be achieved without stopping production.

The X39 design follows the industry recognized European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group, EHEDG, and National Sanitation Foundation, NSF, guidelines to meet the highest hygienic standards required by manufacturers working with raw food products.