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X-ray machines boost detection and throughput for can lines

By Rory Harrington , 28-Jan-2010

Enhanced detection, faster throughput and lower total cost of ownership are the benefits of upgrades to two X-ray inspection machines for use on can production lines, said Mettler Toledo Safeline.

Developments to the InspireX R50S 400 AFD and InspireX R50SB 200 X-ray equipment will address the need for improved detection at higher production speeds, said the company. The latest systems are able to inspect cans spaced rim-to-rim, which allows contaminant detection to take place at a rate of up to 1,500 cans per minute (cpm).

The X-ray technologies feature reduced focal length and improved beam angles to enable faster throughput whilst maintaining optimal quality assurance, product development and sales manager Niall McRory, told FoodProductionDaily.com.

Focal distance

The InspireX R50S 400 AFD (Adjustable Focal Distance) is an advanced single-beam machine able to detect contaminants on a wide range of can sizes. The system’s focal distance (the distance the x-ray beam travels from the x-ray tank exit to the surface of the imaging detector) can be automatically adjusted for each can size – boosting operational flexibility.

"Quality control for foods packaged in metal cans presents many challenges,” said McRory. “The two new x-ray systems for metal cans allow manufacturers to select the best machine for their individual application. The small machine footprint, a choice of fully integrated high-speed automatic reject systems and in-feed product handling options make them a preferable turnkey solution for all sizes of metal cans on high-speed packing lines.”

These two X-ray systems include newly developed XTP contamination detection software tools that analyse products with high resolution, especially important in the more challenging can base and ribbed wall areas. It also offers high-quality image processing and a detection signal that is four times stronger than conventional metal detection systems, enabling detection of a host of contaminants such as stainless steel, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, glass, mineral stones, and high-density plastics and rubbers.

Total cost of ownership

The systems come with a number of features that cut total cost of ownership (TCO), said the company – including low energy consumption thanks to its efficient X-ray tanks and software.

“The new software is fully dynamic and adapts to each product that goes through the machine,” added McRory. “This reduces false rejects and waste. It is very low maintenance because there is no conveyor on the machine. The equipment sits on top of the customer’s conveyor. It is also only necessary to check the filter and air conditioning mechanism.”

The systems also have the ability to quickly accommodate product changeovers and do not need water cooling. The fact the machine is able scan touching cans means that throughput can be maintained at slower belt speeds, which extends the life of the belt, he said. It has a user-friendly PC system with paperless reporting at the machine. Data can either be downloaded onto a USB stick or incorporated into a company’s IT network.

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