The Thermo Scientific Xpert Sideshoot X-Ray Inspection System is a high-speed, high-performance horizontal x-ray beam system that is tailored to quickly identify foreign objects and product or packaging errors for fast corrective action. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about sideshoot X-ray inspection systems.
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A: Most X-ray inspection systems utilize one beam that is directed vertically through the package, from top to bottom. Sideshoot food X-ray inspection systems utilize horizontal X-ray beams (back to front).
An industrial food X-ray inspection system is one of the first lines of defense to identify the presence of foreign contaminants in food products before they leave the processing plant. In an X-ray image, darkness represents density. When coupled with automatic image analysis, X-ray systems can find contaminants that are dense, have sharp edges or are a particular shape or size. These include metal, glass fragments, stones or plastic and bone pieces.
Industrial food X-ray inspection systems are based on the density of the product and the contaminant. X-rays are simply light waves that we can’t see. X-rays have a very short wavelength, which corresponds to very high energy. As an X-ray penetrates a food product, it loses some of its energy. A dense area, such as a contaminant, will reduce the energy even further. As the X-ray exits the product, it reaches a sensor. The sensor then converts the energy signal into an image of the interior of the food product. Foreign matter appears as a darker shade of grey and helps identify foreign contaminants.
A: In food X-ray systems, the X-ray beam should be oriented to pass through the smallest dimension of the package, through the side of tall upright containers. Most food X-ray inspections systems utilize vertical X-ray beam (top down) systems to perform X-ray contaminant detection and product inspection for bags, boxes and other flat packages. Shooting through tall packages vertically means the X-ray beam must penetrate the entire height of the container, which is the thickest, most dense dimension. Sideshoot X-ray inspection systems utilize a source that is located in front of or to the rear of the machine, shooting a horizontal beam through the side of upright cans, bottles, pouches and other tall vertical packages. A large horizontal beam provides improved sensitivity and more accurate results when scanning vertically-oriented containers.
A: The Thermo Scientific Xpert Sideshoot X-Ray Inspection Systemis engineered for high-speed can, bottle, carton, and pouch lines of up to 500 packages per minute. The detector scan rate reaches up to 2800 lines/second.
A: Single-beam units, although effective, sometimes have ‘blind spots’ at the bottom of the container, especially when the bottom is thick and domed. Sideshoot food X-ray systems that have multiple beams positioned at different angles minimize and ultimately eliminate blind spots increasing the probability of detecting smaller contaminants in this area.
A: Yes, when the cap/lids are made of metal, Xpert Sideshoot systems can detect missing or cocked caps and lids. However, since the caps/lids vary, software for the specific product geometry must be utilized.
A: Yes though radiation-blocking curtains often cause upright containers to be knocked down or shifted. In this case, a chicane-style enclosure with a curved shape eliminates the need for curtains, because X-rays can’t go around curves — although curtains are available if preferred.
A: Fill level detection is a configurable parameter that can be set to determine when containers are significantly under filled. Fill level works on homogenous products with a clear line between product and head space (typically liquids or gels). Fill level does NOT work when there is NO clear distinction between product and head space or with an inconsistent level on powders.
A: Yes, the Xpert Sideshoot system meets HACCP requirements.
A: Multi-beam food X-ray systems should be used for glass in glass inspection because the multiple beams provide more views of the same bottle, increasing the detection of smaller glass.
A: Yes. Vial sizes and shapes vary and may require more than one timing device. A timing device is required to properly space the vial. In addition, the equipment footprint is very large.
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: