Selecting the right dairy product inspection, detection, and checkweighing technology depends on product attributes and materials, as well as the production environment. Here are some dairy inspection FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and answers to help you choose the best dairy product inspection equipment and systems for your application.
A: These are the four best places in the dairy production process that benefit from inspection (metal detectors, X-ray equipment and checkweighing technology):
1. Incoming ingredients. Drop-through and bulk-flow metal detectors are ideal choices for dairies wanting to inspect incoming ingredients such as powders, fruits, or nuts before incorporating them into the finished product.
2. Liquid flow. Metal detectors work in pipeline applications for novelties and other liquid-fill products.
3. After filling/packaging. The dairy product inspection equipment type will depend on the product type and its potential for product effect. Since many dairy products have high moisture content, they are more suited for X-ray inspection at this stage. Checkweighers can be located here to make sure that the product weight is within minimum/maximum specifications with an option for electronic real-time feedback to the filler to adjust production on the fly.
4. After case packing. Some dairies can benefit from inspection after final packaging—in-case packing. This is typically done via X-ray inspection if the case is less than 8” high and the machine’s aperture is large enough to accommodate a case. The X-ray system can be used to confirm that the specified count is loaded into the case. In certain situations checkweighers can perform this latter function.
A: For dairy products in cartons, cans, bottles, or pouches, a chain checkweigher offers line speeds up to 700 packages per minute. It is appropriate for both dry and wet environments.
A: Pipeline X-ray inspection is the best methodology for dairy inspection, as formulations can be complex and frequently modified. This can negatively affect metal detector performance due to varying product effect.
A: Many yogurt products use an aluminum foil or metalized lid to aid freshness and prevent tampering, making them best suited to X-ray inspection.
A: To verify that the stick is in the right position, or is even in the package, an X-ray system is ideally suited for the task.
A: X-ray equipment may be the better choice for pre-weighed packaged cheese in single-serve, sliced, and shredded options. In addition to detecting foreign objects, X-ray systems can measure slice thickness and count the number of individually wrapped cheese sticks. X-ray inspection is also effective for Swiss cheese and other non-uniform products.
A: Like sour cream and other ‘fresh dairy’ products, cottage cheese is considered conductive, generating a “product effect.” Because of this, X-ray is a better option than metal detection. Also, checkweighers are effective for these product lines in ensuring that profits are not given away by exceeding the label weight, or that the package contains less product than the label indicates.
A: Like cottage cheese and other fresh dairy products, sour cream is considered conductive, generating a “product effect.” Because of this, X-ray is a better option than metal detection. Also, checkweighers are effective for these product lines in ensuring that profits are not given away by exceeding the label weight, or that the package contains less product than the label indicates.
A: X-ray inspection is best to detect contaminants, but also to ensure that components such as measuring scoops are present. Drop-through metal detectors, which have excellent sensitivity, are also used for this application.
A: X-ray inspection of packaged and bulk food products is proven to be extremely safe. There is no documented evidence of adverse health effects of X-rays on equipment operators, the food products that travel through the equipment, and ultimately, the consumer of those products.
Read A Practical Guide to Metal Detection and X-ray Inspection of Food, a newly updated and expanded foreign object detection ebook for the food industry, to: