Purchasing New X-Ray Equipment

An Interview with Christy Draus, Marketing Manager, Eagle Product Inspection, Inc.

By: Elisabeth Cuneo, Editor

Read insights and expert tips regarding choosing the best x-ray equipment for your packaging line. And learn why x-ray technology is critical to food safety.

In the food and beverage industries, x-ray technology is an essential tool in protecting products in the farm-to-table chain.

Packaging Technology Today: What should packagers look for when choosing an x-ray machine?

Draus: X-ray technology has been around for decades and is an effective method for preventing foreign bodies from entering consumable products. Through the years, x-ray technology has evolved and improved, to the point where today’s advanced x-ray systems, like Eagle’s full spectrum of x-ray machines for raw, in-process and packaged products, can be deployed across several critical control points to detect the smallest contaminants, perform a variety of quality checks and provide important data for tracking purposes. When choosing an x-ray machine, manufacturers should keep an eye out for systems that deliver not only the closest and most accurate inspection, but also versatility, in capabilities that deliver the best images, analyses, quality checks and information collection for a full range of package types. Packagers should also work closely with their equipment suppliers to choose an x-ray machine that fits their distinct needs and product lines. At Eagle, we have customers send us product specs and products and packages, and we help them find the system that offers the best total cost of ownership for them as they protect their brands and reputation.

PTT: What expert advice would you give someone looking to purchase new x-ray equipment?

Draus: When purchasing new x-ray systems, it’s important to gauge the Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO. In addition to the initial cost of the machine, companies should gather information on other costs – and savings – involved in operating the systems, such as their product portfolio, number of daily shifts, the desired throughput, employee training, maintenance, uptime and other factors. A holistic view can help you determine the true cost of ownership and find a system most valuable for your operation that performs error-free and reliably.

In addition to preventing contaminants from entering the food supply, advanced inspection systems also can help operators improve product quality by performing key quality checks.

PTT: In which markets is x-ray so important, i.e. meat, snacks, etc.?

Draus: X-ray technology is important and used across many markets. In the food and beverage industries, x-ray technology is an essential tool in protecting products in the farm-to-table chain, whether for packaged meats that pose risks with possible contaminants like calcified bones or for products with varying densities and ingredients, like cereals and mixes. X-ray technology is used in a variety of nonfood applications as well, including in the pharmaceutical industry, in which the prevention of foreign bodies is extremely important. In addition to preventing contaminants from entering the food supply, advanced inspection systems also can help operators improve product quality and customer satisfaction by performing key quality checks, such as fill level, component count or mass measurement, among other assessments.

PTT: How does inspection/detection equipment aid in food safety?

Draus: Advanced x-ray inspection is an important part of food and beverage manufacturers’ respective HACCP plans. X-ray machines can be installed at several critical control points in the production and packaging of foods and beverages, including the important step of packaging, before product is distributed to consumers. Given the diverse variety of packages today, with different materials and formats, x-ray machines find and reject physical contaminants to help ensure safe products. On another level, Eagle’s proprietary software, including SimulTask™ imaging software and TraceServer™ data collection software, help food manufacturers store and track information on products, in the event of any safety question or recall.

As pioneers in x-ray inspection technology, Eagle Product Inspection is enhancing the physical contamination detection and quality inspection capabilities of food and pharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide. Our food inspection solutions cover a wide range of industries including dairy, confectionery, bakery, fruits and vegetables, poultry, red meat, snacks, ready meals for packaged products, bulk, carton boxes, pouches, tall rigid containers, trays or unpackaged products. For more information, go to: eaglepi.com