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Visible, safe X-ray procedures

Most X-ray inspection equipment for food inspection is available as closed stainless-steel boxes. Sparc Systems (Malvern, UK) now presents a new design concept for X-ray inspection systems. Safety issues such as radiation mean that many food manufacturers avoid purchasing X-ray inspection systems for their production lines.

To counteract this, Sparc Systems has now developed a protective acrylic window for Apollo (X-ray) and Theia (X-ray and checkweigher combination systems). Because the X-rays are completely shielded, personnel can work alongside the machines and see up to 200 packages per minute pass through them without endangering their personal safety, according to the company.

Food residues, product accumulations or jams are visible. Employees can stop the production lines immediately, open the sliding doors, and reset and clean the conveyor belt. This minimizes disturbances and reduces possible product damage. An additional advantage of visual inspection is that no bulky protective devices are required. This reduces the temptation to lean into the machine to remedy a production interruption, which is of great importance for employee health and safety.

Instead of using compressed air, all X-ray machines are equipped with electric servo drives. According to Sparc, this saves food manufacturers up to 4,000 Euros per production line per year. The electric drives also enable the machines to inspect up to 200 packages per minute and sort out contaminated products faster and more precisely.

Construction of six-millimeter thick sheet steel (around twice as thick as other food X-ray equipment) makes the use of additional protective lead unnecessary. Because there are no separately enclosed areas, fewer welded joints, and fewer perforated conveyor belts, there is less chance of cross-contamination by product residues and water droplets from cleaning.

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