Food manufacturers can now inspect for missing pieces and under/over fills plus contaminants
Thermo Fisher Scientific has added inspection capabilities and enhanced detection to its NextGuard X-ray platform to help meet a broader range of food safety and quality requirements.
Launched in 2013 as a foreign object detection system for a variety of food applications, the NextGuard system is now designed also to inspect packaged products for flaws such as missing pieces or components using new, easily customisable vision software.
'The new product verification option allows users to execute a wide range of size, position and count inspections without relying on the X-ray vendor to create new software for each application.
'We anticipate that this feature will reduce time/cost for customers, enabling them to quickly and easily experiment with different inspection algorithms on their own,' said Bob Ries, Lead Product Manager, metal detection and X-ray inspection, Thermo Fisher Scientific.
The NextGuard product verification software allows customers to use a pull-down menu to quickly select and sequence a range of image processing and analysis algorithms. This enables size, shape, angle, count and position-based inspections in minutes.
Also new to the NextGuard platform are several additional algorithms, which target the detection of less dense contaminants such as glass or rocks in complex, textured products such as nuts or tea bag boxes. Optional mass estimation software uses the density information in the X-ray image to estimate weight and detect under/over filled products. The system is now configurable for dual rejection, separating contaminated products from other quality errors. This aids in root cause analysis and implementing corrective actions.
The NextGuard also features hardware upgrades. The standard system processor is now six times faster than the first-generation product, supporting high-speed contaminant detection and inspection as well as improved user responsiveness. An optional 0.4mm-pixel detector is also available that offers X3.2 better resolution for improved metal detection in lightweight, homogeneous products such as powders or cheese.
Since its launch, more than 100 NextGuard units have been delivered worldwide to a variety of food manufacturing facilities.