What's the most effective location for x-ray inspection on a production line?
A new webinar from Mettler-Toledo Safeline
– How to select critical control points for x-ray systems – helps food and pharmaceutical manufacturers improve product safety by choosing the most effective locations on a production line for x-ray inspection equipment. The webinar can be viewed online for free at www.mt.com/pi-ondemand.
By identifying physical contaminants x-ray systems ensure product safety. They also help manufacturers to comply with standards such as HACCP by controlling Critical Control Points (CCPs). CCPs are points on the production line at which control must be applied to reduce the risk of contamination to acceptable levels.
Manufacturers typically install an x-ray inspection system at the end of the production line, although it can be installed at any point during the production process. The questions are:
• Which are the best locations for x-ray inspection equipment?
• Where are the critical control points to ensure the highest levels of product safety?
• Should x-ray inspection be at the beginning of the production line, where the raw materials arrive,
at some intermediate stage, or at the end of the line before products are shipped out?
• Or would product safety and quality be better served by installing x-ray systems at more than one
critical control point?
The webinar starts with a brief description of why manufacturers use x-ray inspection, and how the technology catches contaminants. It goes on to explain that effective x-ray inspection has to be part of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) approach to product safety. After briefly covering the first two of the seven HACCP principles, the webinar takes readers step-by step along the production line.
The production line steps covered are:
1. Raw ingredients
2. Bulk-flow products
3. Pumped products
4. Before and during processing
5. After processing
6. Before packaging and sealing
7. After packaging and sealing
8. Final cases
At each production stage, the webinar discusses the advantages and disadvantages of placing x-ray inspection equipment at that point. As a general rule, early inspection gives better detection rates because product can be presented in shallow layers and in a homogeneous form that lends itself to x-ray inspection. On the other hand, inspection of sealed and packaged product comes at a point when no new contaminants can get in. This step-by-step analysis is helpful because it reminds viewers that there is always a trade-off between risk and cost. The task is to choose an optimal location – one that gives the best level of product safety, for the least disruption, and for the least cost.