Bulk x-ray inspection: the missing system is here
Analyzing bulk materials such as rice, coffee, legumes, and cereals and being able to identify unwanted foreign bodies is one of the key challenges that producers in the FOOD sector face during production.
Antares Vision Group Food now is able to meet to these needs, thanks to the new X-ray inspection system for bulk pipe products. We have delved into the topic with Matteo Bandini, Food & Packaging Business Development Manager, who illustrated the revolution brought to the market by this system.
WHAT TYPES OF CUSTOMERS IS THIS SOLUTION AIMED AT?
The new Bulk X-ray system is ideal for companies that receive the product in its raw state, directly from the plantations and deal with the supply of legumes, cereals, coffee, rice. These companies are responsible for carrying out the first cleaning stages of the product, which precede processing and packaging; this means they must face several problems related to the small size of the product, the high speed of the line, cleaning and the presence of foreign bodies that are not always easily identifiable. This way pollutants are eliminated starting from the first product processing stages.
WHAT NEEDS DOES THE NEW BULK PRODUCT X-RAY MODEL MEET?
The Bulk X-ray system for pipe supplied products is an innovative solution in the field of bulk products, where belt systems that altered the product’s natural flow were implemented until now. This solution, unlike belt conveyors, enables to effectively distribute the product and uniform its thickness during the inspection stage. Years of research and study of the market have allowed us to develop a compact system that perfectly suits the line without any distortions, of contained size and designed for the vertical fall of the product. This system allowed us to successfully respond to all the problems related to these production lines (from high speed to large quantities of product) in an innovative way that stands out on the market.
WHY IS AN X-RAY INSPECTION REQUIRED IN THIS TYPE OF SECTOR?
The manufacturer cleans the product by using cleaning towers. Residues such as dust, earth etc. are eliminated during this stage; in a subsequent step the product is analysed by the optical sorting machines, able to identify and eliminate unsuitable products and any pollutants. The X-ray system is the next step of these technologies and integrates and completes them: thanks to the high sensitivity of the system that detects product density, small pollutants such as metals, glass, high density plastics and stones, often sharing the same shape and colour of the product, can thus be identified, eliminating further foreign bodies that otherwise escape undetected.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES WITH RESPECT TO THE X-RAY MODEL FOR BULK PRODUCTS ON BELT?
First and foremost, this system is capable of efficiently handling large quantities of product crossing the production line at very high speeds, avoiding line shut down situations due to product accumulation or residues. This was made possible thanks to the internal development of the sensor and image processing electronics, in addition to a machine design capable of reducing the control section. Secondly, it has been developed in order to comply with hygienic design standards, eliminating the accumulation of dust and product residues and making maintenance and cleaning easier. Particular care was given to allow almost instantaneous format changes, simply by operating the HMI of the instrument through the product change menu. The system automatically adapts to receive a different product in terms of capacity, section, shape, density. Another advantage is the reduction in overall dimensions, which enables to install the solution in line even in case of limited space.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES FOR THE MANUFACTURER?
The high-speed inspection and rejection and the internal design of the X-ray system with a reduced control section ensure that rejects and reprocessing are kept to a minimum; discarded products are directed to a collection tank that allows the manufacturer to intervene on any new processes or analyses. Images of rejected products are digitally recorded and archived. Furthermore, the system is part of the range of automated plants and therefore all recipe and format change, line control and management operations can be managed remotely. The system complies with the guidelines of Industry 4.0 ensuring complete system interconnection. Removing foreign bodies from the very first processing is essential to safeguard the end consumer, protect the machines processing raw materials and prevent the subsequent crushing stages from making pollutants more difficult to detect. These innovative systems therefore represent the best tool to safeguard the supply chain.