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Your Guide to 'CHECK & DETECT' for Metalized Packaging

3 Apr 2019

In food packaging, foil trays, aluminium trays, aluminium foil, foiled bags and sachets are commonly used. 

Suppliers select these types of metalized packaging for many reasons, which includes excellent at preserving contents, increasing shelf-life and helping to improve presentation of the food. However, for food manufacturers using metalized packaging, a common question asked is whether it is possible to detect metal contaminants in packaging that is metalized. This is an important question in keeping food safety a top priority and in meeting retailer specifications for contaminant detection.

So, what is the answer to “Can metal be detected in metalized packaging?”. Generally speaking, metalized packaging is not always compatible with conventional metal detectors and so it is unlikely to meet retailer requirements. The complexity is that metalized packaging creates a large product signal which can force the metal detector to operate at inferior sensitivity levels. This reduces inspection performance and typically makes the metal detector an ineffective solution for detecting metal contaminants.

The good news is there is an alternative to using a metal detector for inspecting foods that are in packaging that is metalized. The solution is an X-ray system! Not only are X-ray systems superior at metal detection through metallized packaging, they also have the ability to detect other contaminants like bone, stone and glass, plus check the integrity of the product being inspected.

X-ray systems work exceptionally well with metalized packaging as the X-ray is less affected by the packaging materials. Instead, X-ray technology works by scanning a product and producing a grey-scale image correlating to the product’s density. A contaminant or defect is identified when a dense grey-scale area is detected due to the contaminant’s density being abnormal to the learned contaminant-free product density the current scanned product’s image is compared to a known good reference image and a difference is detected.

What can an X-ray system find in metalized packaging?

  • Excellent at detection of ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel metal contaminants.
  • Reliable detection of glass, bone, ceramic/stone, dense plastics and product clumps, as well as other foreign bodies depending on their relative densities.
  • X-Ray systems can simultaneously inspect for the integrity of the product, which includes missing items, excess products (by volume count), and x-weighing.

X-ray systems can help strengthen any Critical Control Point (CCP) within a factory by reliably checking for metal contaminants in food that has metalized packaging. These critical checks are often a requirement to ensure optimum quality control and food safety, meeting retailers’ strict Code of Practice and other important industry standards. Loma’s X-ray range also has impressive data collection and reporting capabilities which benefits inspection audit and quality processes.

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IQ4 Metal Detector Conveyor Systems

The IQ4 Conveyorized Metal Detector system is designed for packaged and loose products and can be supplied with full retail compliance.

View the Metal Detection Range

The Compact X5C X-ray Inspection System

The X5C detects all types of metal (i.e. stainless steel, ferrous and non-ferrous), bone, glass or dense plastics and can be used for basic product integrity tests (i.e. missing items, object checking, fill level).

It is especially good at inspecting products packaged in foil or heavy metallized film packaging and overcoming the problems with Ferrous in Foil metal detectors.

View the X5C X-ray Inspection System