Ishida Europe’s X-ray system delivers extra safety for confectionery quality control

An X-ray inspection solution from Ishida Europe has enabled German confectionery manufacturer Rübezahl Schokoladen GmbH to adopt metallised film for its popular Sun Rice products while still maintaining effective foreign-body detection.

Sun Rice is a type of chocolate filled with puffed rice, available in various flavours some of which contain cereals. The bars and slabs are packaged in striking aluminium-lined films to preserve aroma and freshness. This meant Rübezahl Schokoladen’s previous metal detection system was no longer suitable and the company had to find a new quality assurance solution.

The Ishida IX-EN X-ray inspection system is able to exclude the metallised packaging from the detection process. The model was developed to reliably check thin, lightweight and comparatively homogeneous products, such as the Sun Rice chocolates.

The X-ray inspection system checks for foreign bodies by measuring the density of the product. An X-ray beam passes through the confectionery and photodiodes record the beam on the other side. Depending on the strength of the returning X-ray beam, the diodes send a signal for conversion to a grey-scale image. Any particles denser than the product itself appear as dark spots on the image.

The special and patented technology behind Ishida’s X-ray inspection system is based on software featuring an intelligent genetic algorithm. By analysing image data over a number of generations, the machine achieves an extremely high level of accuracy. Since similar contaminants are usually found again and again in food manufacture, the system can create a unique algorithm to meet customer requirements. The system can be calibrated quickly and easily by passing an X-ray beam through a test object two or three times.

While the IX-EN is delivering speeds of 600 packs per minute, output could be even higher but is currently held back by upstream line components. Despite its high speed, the Ishida system reliably detects foreign bodies with diameters down to 1mm.

Rübezahl Schokoladen is reportedly already planning to expand its foreign body detection using Ishida X-ray inspection systems for other products.

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