Ishida X-ray delivers certainty for safety and quality at Portuguese manufacturer

The versatility of Ishida’s IX-EN-4093-S X-ray inspection system has enabled a Portuguese convenience food producer to further enhance its strict food safety and quality standards.

Centralrest, Ltd, part of Irmãos Monteiro, SA, one of Portugal’s leading meat processors, specialises in the production of a wide variety of chilled and frozen meals, pastas and sauces through its Prato do Dia brand.

The company originally installed the Ishida IX-EN X-ray inspection system to inspect for potential metal contaminants in products packed in aluminium trays, as these could not be detected using a traditional metal detector. However, the X-ray machine’s ability to spot a variety of other foreign bodies including glass and dense plastic, means the machine will now be used to inspect products packed in other materials as well.

Another notable benefit of the IX-EN is its far greater sensitivity compared to the metal detector it replaced, as Vítor Melo of Centralrest explained:

“With the Ishida X-ray it is possible to detect fragments of much smaller dimensions compared to the metal detector, and this allows us to have greater confidence in the safety of our products.”

“The ability to detect both metal and non-metal foreign bodies down to very small dimensions has allowed us to practically eliminate complaints of this nature and therefore increase consumer confidence in the quality of our products,” said Vítor Melo.

X-ray machines can be used to achieve superior results than current metal detector systems. X-ray technology works on the principle of producing X-ray wavelengths from a generator tube which traverse through the product to be inspected onto a line sensor. The line sensor system converts the incident X-rays into a greyscale image that is further processed and ultimately displayed on the screen. The darker the area of the image, the higher the density and in this way foreign bodies which are denser than the product can be detected.

This ability allows an X-ray system to see a host of additional non-metallic foreign bodies, including rubber, stones, shell and bones. In addition, Ishida X-ray inspection systems are equipped to identify packaging defects, missing product in packs or damaged products, ensuring that product presentation and quality are consistent throughout food production.

Key to this capability is Ishida’s unique self-learning Genetic Algorithm (GA) technology. This focuses the X-ray machine to find difficult to detect contaminants with a high degree of accuracy, even at high throughput rates, using image data analysis over a number of trial runs. As it is common in food production for similar contamination problems to recur, data logging helps to build up a more precise calibration protocol with each trial. This enables permanent or recurring defects to be easily identified during the inspection process.

The excellent sensitivity of the Ishida X-ray means it is able to detect impurities down to 0.3mm in size, while the place of contamination can also be accurately pinpointed.

At Centralrest, the IX-EN is in operation for around six hours each day. The company reports that it is performing very reliably, and that the system is extremely intuitive and easy to operate, with fast changeovers between products.

“The IX-EN is a good example of how Ishida offers reliable equipment, adapted to the need and requirements of different industries,” commented Vítor Melo.

The IX-EN was supplied and installed by Ishida’s Portuguese agent Diverembal.

“We have received excellent service from Diverembal, including training on the machine for operators and engineers,” concluded Vítor Melo. “Thanks to the Ishida X-ray, we offer safer products in terms of preventing the presence of any type of foreign body, and this helps to maintain and enhance our reputation.”

Established for our 40 years, Irmãos Monteiro’s is the leader in the meat processing and distribution sector. The company’s mission is to deliver excellence with safety, offering the market diversified, fresh and quality products.

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