PACKAGING INTEGRITY

You have most likely experienced purchasing a food product, only to discover that it has decayed long before its time, resulting in the necessity to throw out the product. The decay is most frequently due to flawed sealing. Apart from the economical waste it causes the customer, it is also potentially dangerous if the tainted product is consumed.

MAIN FEATURES

System detection capability:

  • Package measures @ 0.2 mm
  • Package damage detection
  • Correct and uncontaminated sealing
  • Correct product in package
  • Correct weight
  • Uncontaminated product

A high-quality X-ray imaging is a necessity for the automatic identification and detection of packaging irregularities, on-line, of food products packaged in plastic (or aluminum, or carton) cups, trays, pouches, and the like. The value creation relates to:

  • Instantaneous signal-giving upon detecting deviations of conformity of the packaging integrity;
  • Avoiding production of defective packages
  • Eliminating call-backs;
  • Avoiding leaking products during transport;
  • Extending product shelf life;
  • Safeguarding the consumer safety.

The InnospeXion “HYMCIS” packaging integrity assessment system is based on the newest and most effective X-ray technology, using a part of the X-ray spectrum not used in other X-ray systems.

At line speed up to 27 m/min, or up to 180 samples per minute, the system automatically detects and rejects packaging imperfections down to nanometer thickness, at less than 2 x 2 mm in surface area (minimum 5 mm damage extension for on-line applications). Packaging materials are plastics, thin aluminum, carton, paper, and other low density/low Z materials.

APPLICATION AREAS

Automatic detection and rejection of sealing imperfections, seal contamination, packaging integrity, and package content conformity

Faulty packaging may be caused by a number of factors, including sealing defects due to the product, damage to the plastic cup, reels getting out of alignment, faulty materials, failure in processes, etc. The problem is that such defects often are discovered only upon final handling. This leads to significant waste, loss of revenue, at best. At worst, the products reach the retailer shop, and ultimately the end user. This leads to callbacks, to potential accidents, and complaints that must be handled.

The HYMCIS system allows the online, automatic and real-time assessment of:

  • Determination of the aluminum jar/can/pouch being undamaged
  • Determine that the plastic/aluminum foil is correctly placed within the acceptance seal zone
  • Determine that the seal zone conforms to the defined area for the welding
  • Determine that the plastic/aluminum foil is free of folds and other similar defects
  • Determine that there is no product lying in the seal zone
  • Determine if there is product lying outside the seal zone
  • Determine that there is no contamination of the product
  • Determine that the right amount of product is filled into the plastic/aluminum jar/can or pouch
  • Determine that the distribution of the product within the jar/can/pouch is homogeneous
  • Determine that the density of the product corresponds to acceptance criteria
  • Determine that the homogeneity of the product meets the acceptance criteria

The usage of X-rays with a very low energy (15-20 kV) in on-line applications facilitates imaging of very small composition, density and/or thickness differences. This is the fundamental basis for making it possible to inspect and detect in real-time seal imperfections and leakers in e.g. plastic pouches, plastic cans with plastic or aluminum foil, and many other packaging types. Deviations in the seal thickness down to fractions of a micron can thus be detected and the object rejected, at production speed up to 180 units per minute.

EXAMPLES OF USAGE

Vision systems have previously gained wide acceptance for industrial quality control. The present X-ray detectors with speed of up to 300 images per second allow, together with faster computers, that X-ray data is usable for the control of processes in industrial production. The starting point is the quantification of information of the X-ray images.

The incorporation of PLC-based control in the X-ray systems enables a more complex and safe online quality control.

There are surprisingly many application areas – from an X-ray based measurement of flow in pipe systems for off-shore research to quantification of internal structure in micro-mechanical components. The applications set demands to high speed, high resolution, and high sensitivity. Advanced imaging is integrated with intelligent system control so that an effective utilization of the inspection of the product for controlling the quality is achieved.

One of the main applications for low-energy X-ray systems is within food and pharmaceutical packaging and the like. Depending on the product, shape, size, and packaging material, low-energy X-rays can be used to control and measure many different aspects of the product:

  • Is the package intact?
  • Are labels placed correctly?
  • Is the package correctly closed (is the plastic weld free of foreign particles etc.)?
  • Is the product correctly placed in the package?
  • Are all units in the package?
  • Is the distance between packages/objects on the line correct?
  • Is the product correct and does it look “normal” (without flaws)?
  • Are there any foreign particles – and if so, where in the package?
  • Is there a correct amount of the product?

The motivation for the use of low-energy X-ray systems is in this way not solely as a method for detection of foreign particles – but a more complete quality control, online

EXAMPLES OF USAGE

SEAL INSPECTION - PLASTIC CANS

Read through our pdf’s to learn more on the subject

SEAL INSPECTION - PLASTIC POUCHES

Food pouches: automatic detection and rejection of sealing imperfections, seal contamination, packaging integrity, and package content conformity

Objective

Modern food packaging aims at user-friendly packaging that is easy to open, that safeguards the product during transport and display while securing the product from contamination towards the exterior. Most products are packaged in an inert atmosphere, and hence the packaging integrity is important for the shelf life and the consumer safety. The latter is especially relevant for food packages aimed at babies, toddlers, and even pets. Toxicity of the food can arise due to leaking seals, causing air ingress to the product with consequential deterioration and toxic development in the product.

Traditional X-ray systems cannot be used to detect seal imperfections, such as leaking seal due to product contamination of the seal, or due to other errors such as folds, wrinkles, misaligned foils, and others. The reason is that very small thickness or density variations involving plastics, water, and organic materials, is invisible in a traditional X-ray image. There is simply no contrast

Solution

New detection technology combined with new X-ray source technology, has facilitated that X-ray systems can be used at much lower energies than traditional X-ray systems used for foreign object detection. The usage of X-rays with an energy between 15 and 20 kV in on-line applications thus facilitates imaging of very small composition, density and/or thickness differences, down to the nano-scale. This is the fundamental basis for making it possible to inspect and detect in real-time seal imperfections and leakers in e.g. plastic pouches. Deviations in the seal thickness down to fractions of a micron can thus be detected and the object rejected, at production speed up to 180 units per minute.

BLISTER PACKAGING

Objective

Blister packaging is widespread in pharmaceutical production. Product and consumer safety make it relevant to ensure proper packaging and integrity, as well as verifying the completeness of the packaging. To this end, vision systems are in widespread usage, however, low-energy X-rays offers the large advantage of verifying conformity of the contents IN the package, as well as ensuring the completeness of the as packaged product.

Solution

The InnospeXion packaging integrity assessment system is based on the newest and most effective X-ray technology. The high-quality X-ray imaging is a necessity for the automatic identification and detection of packaging irregularities, on-line, of blister packaged products.

The value creation relates to:

  • Instantaneous signal-giving upon detecting deviations of conformity of the packaging integrity;
  • Avoiding production of defective packages (through an alarm when out of conformity situation arises);
  • Eliminating call-backs and market complaints;
  • Avoiding product contamination during transport, handling etc (inadequately packaged blisters);
  • Safeguarding the consumer safety.

The system automatically detects and rejects blister packaging imperfections of nanometer thickness, down to less than 2 x 2 mm in surface area. Packaging materials are plastics, thin aluminum, carton, paper, and other low density/low Z materials.

PHARMACEUTICAL DEVICE INSPECTION

Medical dosage devices

Objective

The complexity of some modern drugs makes it important to deliver them to the user in devices that can handle the right dosage and secure correct function. This requires complex and expensive production lines, with advanced micro-mechanics and frequent control and checking stations for the product.

However, often internal details of a device are critical and vulnerable to deviations that may cause the device to fail or work incorrectly. Low energy X-rays are very valuable to unveil such situations and can be used on-line to monitor specific high-risk details of the product. Thanks to the low energy, contrast between plastic parts (e.g.) is sufficient to secure a high precision internal measurement, even at production speed.

Solution

InnospeXion have developed several different systems for on-line and off-line usage for the quality and conformity control of medical dosage devices, for 18 years. Due to the requirement of a high resolution in most cases, step-wise functioning systems involving a microfocus X-ray source has been applied, in connection with a high sensitivity ultra-fast area imaging detector. This has secured the adequate contrast between plastics to enable a very high reliability of image analysis software to correctly address the conformity of the device internal structure and positioning of components.

For pharmaceutical products, the systems are designed to avoid unnecessary exposure of the drug itself. Test trials, advanced dosage measurements, and modeling have been used to secure that the radiation dose absorbed by the drug is negligible.

Typical throughput is 1 device per second, depending on the requirements at the site of usage. InnospeXion supplies both fully automatic and semi-automatic systems.   

PHARMACEUTICAL PACKAGING

Objective

X-ray systems are ideal for inspection of packaged products and detection inside the package of a variety of possible foreign objects. The low energy X-ray technology is particularly suitable for inspection of packaged products and unpackaged products of small thickness and/or low density (low atomic number composition). For packaged products, a great advantage is the ability to check the integrity of the packaging as well as the positioning of product(s) inside the package. Also, labels, sealing, etc can be assessed.

The InnospeXion HYMCIS X-ray scanners are built for in-line integration. The use of PLC as master of the HYMCIS control makes it easy to integrate a number of I/O functionalities, including alarms to different machinery along the processing line, sorting and grading auxiliary equipment, etc.

The products covered in this report are correctly and incorrectly packaged catheters wrapped in an aluminum foil outer bag- There are two types of defects, referred to as “jam” and “wide jam”.

Solution

The InnospeXion HYMCIS X-ray scanners are built for in-line integration. The use of PLC as master of the HYMCIS control makes it easy to integrate a number of I/O functionalities, including alarms to different machinery along the processing line, sorting and grading auxiliary equipment, etc.

The products covered in this report are correctly and incorrectly packaged catheters wrapped in an aluminum foil outer bag – There are two types of defects, referred to as “jam” and “wide jam”.

The value creation relates to:

  • Instantaneous signal-giving upon detecting deviations of conformity of the packaging integrity;
  • Avoiding production of defective packages (through an alarm when out of conformity situation arises);
  • Eliminating call-backs and market complaints;
  • Avoiding product contamination during transport, handling etc (inadequately packaged blisters);
  • Safeguarding the consumer safety.

The system automatically detects and rejects packages with imperfections of nanometer thickness, down to less than 2 x 2 mm in surface area, as well as giving a signal on deviation of conformity for a vast number of package parameters. Packaging materials are plastics, thin aluminum, carton, paper, and other low density/low Z materials.

FEATURES

3 PACKAGES PER SECOND

Real-time and online inspection with instant automatic rejection

FOREIGN PARTICLES DOWN TO 0.3 MM

Foreign particles of (almost) any size in (almost) any kind of product

CONTAMINATION PREVENTION

Our X-ray systems help reduce the risk of spoilage and food poisoning

LOCATING DEFECTS

Along with automatic rejection, product flaws and defects are eliminated

CASE STORY

Danish seafood supplier, Bornholms A/S, wanted to ensure a very high quality standard of their large variety of new packaging containers, and therefore invested in an InnospeXion X-ray system. Read their story.