Thermo X RayThermo Fisher Scientific Inc. ( announces an affordable, yet sophisticated and easy-to-use X-ray detection platform, designed to enable food processors to meet the global demand for more thorough inspection for product contamination.

The platform, the Thermo Scientific NextGuard™ system, combines three key attributes—performance, simplicity-of-use and price point—to make state-of-the-art X-ray product detection more affordable for food, pharmaceutical and other applications. 

“Based on customer feedback, we’ve found that, traditionally, the total cost of ownership for X-ray systems has been too high for many companies to justify this technology,” says Bob Ries, lead product manager, metal detection and X-ray inspection, Thermo Fisher. “This feedback is also telling us that our robust, affordable, easy-to-use X-ray system is going to be the catalyst that will alter the product inspection landscape.”

Based on Thermo Fisher testing, the NextGuard offers up to 50 percent better detection sensitivity than Thermo Fisher’s previous value-based X-ray system, the EZx. The system is designed to be reliable, easy-to-install and compact (one meter long). It comes equipped with intuitive software.

NextGuard’s performance-oriented features also have been driven by a changing industry landscape. “X-ray detection addresses a number of customer concerns, including evolving HACCP standards and requirements from some retailers for X-ray inspected product,” Ries says.

“Additionally, we are seeing an increased use of metalized film packaging, which is problematic for metal detectors.  On the product side, many wet or semi-frozen foods also do not lend themselves to metal detection due to product affect issues.  Examples include cheese, ice cream, bakery products and others,” Ries says.

The NextGuard is packed with features often only found in higher-end systems to help expand the technology to a wider customer base. These include:

  • Multiple contaminant detection algorithms to increase detection probability
  • Ability to modify, test and change detection parameters on the fly
  • QA check mode, automating operator audits and record keeping
  • Multiple available X-ray powers with low-cost extended warranties
  • Wraparound detector intended to reduce “blind spots”
  • Built-in internet remote support hardware and software
  • Easily removable conveyor facilitating quick cleaning and service
  • Detector diagnostics warn when preventative maintenance is needed
  • On-machine reject image storage for up to 90 days

 The series’ first model, the NextGuard C330, is designed for packaged product contaminant detection and complements the mid- and high-end Thermo Scientific Xpert and POWERx X-ray inspection systems currently operating in plants around the world.