No industry is exempt from the trend to use digital technology in process monitoring, quality control, packaging processes and in checking completeness. In the food industries products need to be measured, their quality must be monitored based on visual criteria and imprints of best before dates are required to be checked for correctness.
Monitoring the Visual Beauty of Food
Normally, the quality monitoring of foodstuffs is based on technical parameters such as shape, moisture, color, weight, dimensions, degree of ripeness or level of browning.
Our innovation SAFE-IDENT Quality, on the other hand, checks non-quantifiable aesthetic aspects of a food product: The visual beauty. It inspects raw products and fully automatically reports the results.
Detecting and Discarding Impurities
A hyperspectral camera can distinguish a brown nut shell from a brown nut in a matter of seconds and send a signal to eject the foreign particle. This guarantees that the consumer does not encounter shell residues in end products such as muesli, cookies or chocolate.
Our SAFE-IDENT Sort sorting machine distinguishes individual spectra of IO and NIO parts. Inside the machine, our image processing software controls 32 integrated blow-out nozzles, which ensure precise ejection of the NIO components. The pure IO components are all that remain.
Controlling Variable Data on Pre-Packed Goods
A best before date is required by law on pre-packed food in the EU, Switzerland and many other markets worldwide. It is a challenge for the image processing industry to quickly and reliably check best before dates and product numbers, regardless of the products’ different packaging formats and designs.
Our product SAFE-IDENT OCR was developed specifically for the special needs of the food industries. The software can handle numerous different packaging formats and is able to decipher any data regardless of the print quality.
Code Inspection Optimizes Quality Control
Quality control is also essential in industrial packaging processes in the food industries. Loading the packaging machines with the wrong material can lead to high expenditures of time and money. For instance, a product containing allergenic substances might erroneously be packaged in boxes declaring a non-allergenic product. Simple random offline controls after the packaging process hold the risk of high error rates which lead to many rejects.
SAFE-IDENT Code can check the presence and correctness of up to 300 barcodes and data matrix codes per minute during the packaging process. Our one-camera solution with excellent optical qualities can tackle all the challenges of inline quality control. Even tiny, variable data on varying packaging formats can be read quickly and reliably.
Reliable Examination of Labels
Single-dose packages, bottles, cans, and many other packaging units require mandatory quality controls. If these products are provided with the wrong or with erroneous labels, high costs may arise, which could have been avoided.
SAFE-IDENT Label quickly and reliably checks whether the labels are present, correct, readable and complete. For this, labels are placed into an offline monitoring station on a random basis – for instance, at the start of a new product batch and then at regular intervals.
Reliably Detect Impurities in Chocolate
Impurities in chocolate are a disaster for manufacturers and consumers, which is why every bar must be checked before packaging. Employing staff to check each product individually is too expensive and has a high error rate.
Our software detects even the smallest crumb. If a color particle that deviates from the norm appears, a signal is given and the corresponding bars are automatically ejected. This happens while one or more inline cameras record the passing bars and evaluate them in real time.
Analysing Food Down to the Pores
The so-called pore analysis is used to examine porous or granular material. It is based on digital images taken by industrial cameras. It is possible to analyze only pores of a certain size, such as those with a minimum roundness, or pores within a distinctly defined area of the image. All pores which meet the criteria can be assigned specific values such as quantity, area, height, width, circumference, and roundness. In the food industries pore analysis is utilized in the production of baked goods.
Our solution SAFE-IDENT Cell quickly and easily analyzes the material composition of objects and determines the number, size and quality of pores and particles. Our compact measuring station can be configured to varying object sizes, work distances and environmental conditions by using different cameras and optics. It can thus fulfil very specific client needs.
Determining Volume and Density in Two Seconds
Determining the qualitative parameters of food usually requires elaborate measurement methods. Rapeseeds and mustard seeds are normally used to measure the volume of a product, amongst other parameters, by immersing the product within and measuring the displaced number of seeds. Measuring foods with high viscosity, pastes or form changing products in the conventional way is highly time, cost and staff consuming and leads to many rejects.
In order to avoid this, Strelen has developed an innovative solution for volume measurement. Safe-Ident Food was awarded the DBZ iba-trophy it can measure non-optical parameters quickly, without destruction and contact-free in just two seconds. Using a 3D camera the parameters can be determined independently of the physical properties and textures of the food products in question. Safe-Ident Food identifies size accuracy, form, and color inline, during the production process. Parameters such as weight and density can additionally be measured offline, in the lab.
Picture Credits: © pevgeniy / 123rf, © Viktor Lugovskoy / Adobe Stock, © MJ_Prototype / iStock, © Elenathewise / iStock