As the prepared foods industry continues to expand – driven by marketplace demand for convenient, high quality, ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook products – manufacturers have taken on the responsibility of ensuring that foods are free from any foreign materials, such as bone, metal, stone, wire, glass, plastic or other bodies. To help manufacturers control quality and safety, Anritsu Industrial Solutions USA (us.anritsu-industry.com) offers a range of comprehensive detection and inspection systems spanning X-Ray, Metal Detection, and Checkweigher systems, along with advanced quality management and quality control software.
The needle-in-a-haystack comparison – in this case, a potential needle fragment in a piece of meat or a minute piece of wire in a potato – is apt in the prepared foods industry, as processors must detect and remove contaminants while maintaining their high volume, highly diverse lines. The cost of not removing such contaminants is high, as evidenced by news headlines about massive product recalls due to issues like glass shards in entrees or metal shards in boxes of macaroni.
“Brand reputation, profit margins and even a company’s entire business are on the line, which is why you don’t want anything on your processing lines that shouldn’t be there,” says Erik Brainard, President and CEO for Anritsu. “Prepared foods can pose challenges because of the amount of ingredients in such foods, the many sources from which they come into a plant and the variety of meals and foods that today’s processors make on a regular basis.”
The accuracy and sensitivity of Anritsu’s X-Ray and Metal Detection equipment allows prepared food makers to find very small foreign contaminants with a low rate of false positives. Through Anritsu’s Ultra HD X-Ray technology, processors can detect the most minute contaminants – down to 0.2mm diameter ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel spheres at production line speeds. The company’s DualX X-Ray Inspection technology reliably detects contaminants and allows users to see through multiple package materials; even larger cased products can meet or exceed 1.5mm metal detection. Anritsu’s X-Ray technologies perform other important functions in addition to contamination detection, such as the inspection of missing pieces, product count and mass through virtual weighing.
The newest addition in Anritsu X-Ray technology is the precision engineered XR75 that provides excellent sensitivity at lower energy levels for extended life cycles and a reduced total true cost of ownership. The low output X-Ray generator eliminates the need for a cooling system resulting in a 30% reduction in energy consumption. XR75 incorporates all new technology for critical system components. And a superior sanitary design and tool-less belt removal for easy cleaning. It’s user-friendly, with easier setup and simplified menu structures. The XR75 can reduce the lifetime operating cost over 20% compared to other X-Ray systems.
As prepared food companies work to keep lines running smoothly, they can also take advantage of checkweighing solutions from Anritsu, including a Smart Measure Function that allows for accuracy down to .01g, leading to a reduction in false rejects and, ultimately, better ROI. Additionally, combination Checkweighing and Metal Detection systems offer flexibility to handle a variety of functions, freeing up line space while reducing critical control points.
“Together with Anritsu’s range of Checkweigher systems, the company’s X-Ray and Metal Detection equipment helps ensure there are no contaminants, check a product’s weight, and perform additional quality control checks for a range of items,” saysBrainard, adding that the systems are designed to ensure operational uptime and efficiency for manufacturers, with quick changeover and product setup.