Two new bulk X-ray systems, the Thermo Scientific ( Xpert B400 and B600, give food processors, growers and packers new and more thorough ways to address potential contaminants in bulk food ingredients. The systems are extensions of the proven Thermo Scientific Xpert platform.

Food processors can choose from two new bulk flow conveyor belts widths—400 and 600 millimeters— which run at a maximum speed of 80 meters/minute to handle a wide range of bulk flow products.

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Xpert bulk X-ray systems incorporate the company’s latest technology to detect foreign objects in bulk materials such as seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. The platform is easy-to-use, doesn’t limit throughput and is sensitive to metallic, as well as non-metallic contaminants such as rocks, glass, plastic and rubber. Typical detection sensitivities are 1-1.5mm for metals and 3-4mm for glass and rocks.

These units are ideal where upstream bulk inspection is desirable due to a high probability of ingredient contamination. With a growing number of processors rejecting and returning entire product lots if they arrive contaminated, the Xpert bulk X-ray systems can also be used by growers/packers to remove contaminants before they even reach the food processor.

“Bulk ingredients are often picked in the field and packed in close proximity. As a result, it is fairly common to inadvertently pick up debris from the growing environment that has to be removed before the raw material is processed,” says Bob Ries, lead product manager, metal detection and X-ray inspection, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Additionally, as more food processors are pushing the responsibility of detection back to their suppliers, we are seeing new interest from raw material processors for this type of technology.”

The Xpert bulk X-ray systems have been designed with the following features for performance, flexibility, sanitation, and to reduce unnecessary scrap and waste:

  • Front, back or side slotted bulk flow input funnel
  • Adjustable metering device designed to facilitate a consistent product level for optimum detection
  • Multilane inspection software designed to minimize the amount of rejected material
  • Easy-to-remove belt and guides when cleaning the inspection tunnel
  • Output slide with one to four rejection gates and removable contaminated product collection box
  • Three guide types to help products stay on conveyor belt (soft fabric, hard plastic, troughed belt)
  • Optional lane dividers to facilitate flow; optional belt scrapers for sticky or wet products
  • No shielding curtains; nothing touches the product as it flows through the system
  • High resolution sensors and high power X-ray sources for maximum sensitivity