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Mettler-Toledo bulks up inspection capabilities

By Joe Whitworth+

19-Oct-2015

Mettler-Toledo Safeline's X36 Series Bulk Variant
Mettler-Toledo Safeline's X36 Series Bulk Variant

Mettler-Toledo Safeline has introduced an X-ray inspection system for food manufacturers looking to inspect bulk flow products.

The X36 Series Bulk Variant allows higher throughput than the X33 Series Bulk Variant.

It offers up to 14,000kg per hour depending on product depth and density compared to the 5,000kg/hour from the X33.

Bulk-flow product inspection systems typically inspect loose product before it is packaged or added as an ingredient to a finished pack.

Paul King, head of sales for Mettler Toledo Safeline X-ray, said food processors need to ensure their products are contaminant-free whilst meeting tough key performance indicators (KPIs) such as high production targets, reducing operational costs and lowering wastage.

Inspecting bulk flow products

The X36 Bulk Variant is for dried fruit and nuts, processed meats, cereals, grains, frozen fruit and vegetables, seafood and dried pet food.

It is a single vertical x-ray beam system capable of detecting dense contaminants, including metal and glass shards, calcified bone, mineral stone and high-density plastic and rubber.

King said the single beam was more than adequate for the task.

“The only reason you need a multiple beam is for items such as glass containers where there are several parts such as the aperture and a lid or packaged food, with loose products on the belt there are no hiding areas as the product is spread across the belt.

“The machine is designed by Mettler Toledo, we buy the metalwork but the hardware and software comes from our large internal R&D team.”

Software and rejection devices

Advanced detector technology allows for lower power consumption reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

A six-scoop rejection mechanism enhances precision contaminant removal with minimal rejection of good product, while a troughed conveyor prevents product spilling from the line, reducing product waste.

The X36 Bulk Variant is available with optional rejection devices to suit the needs of specific applications, including air blast reject systems.

King said the detector technology allows a reduction in power and x-ray generation.

“This lowers the total cost of ownership, not just with the initial purchase but with the running costs. The lifetime is a minimum 10 years and nowadays food producers are running two or three shifts of 16 hours or some plants run for 24 hours and the machine can handle that.

“Most applications will have the reject scoops aligned alongside each other raised two to three inches in height to channel the product into the bin while the air blast reject system blows contaminants into the bin.

“Scoops can be removed from the machine and washed and the machine fully accessed.

“Meat and heavier products would use the scoop system while for the cereal and grains and the lighter items it is more common to use the air blast system.” 

Installation early in the process means incoming goods or raw materials can be inspected, potentially enabling contaminants to be removed at the source and traced back to the supplier.

Built according to the principles of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG), the X36 Bulk Variant features an Ingress Protection (IP) 69 rated stainless steel cabinet.

Sloped surfaces and curved edges minimise bacteria traps and allow water to run off, enabling quick and effective cleaning with minimal downtime, further enhancing line productivity.

The machine features a 15.6 inch touchscreen display with software and automated set-up.

The PC has a large memory to store time-stamped images of product rejects, enhancing traceability for manufacturers to help them demonstrate due diligence in the event of a product recall. 

Integrated software monitors the system’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and it can be connected to the manufacturers’ network, giving authorised personnel the ability to store and analyse inspection and performance data from a remote location.

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