Food x-ray technology from afar
developed. Manufacturer Cintex says that the reason the
modifications made to its range of MIACS software is so innovative
is because it will allow, for the first time, monitoring from a
remote location, writes Anthony Fletcher.
At the click of a button, a remote user can monitor the progress of products passing through the x-ray machine and see each individual image without having to visit the production floor. In addition, historic images can be easily retrieved, viewed, printed and saved, all from a host PC, making them available for analysis and reports at a moments notice.
Cintex says that its MIACS software enables a PC to be used to control, monitor and collect data from Cintex end-of-line inspection systems. Using MIACS, system operators are able to change product set-ups, control various statistical parameters, and collect data from each Cintex system to provide a central record of all validation and production data.
The software also provides enhanced data collection techniques, which include event-logging for individual machines on the network, report capturing which produces automated reports from specific machines and a host of other report production and analysis features.
In addition, this is also the first time that an Ethernet connection has been used to connect a system to MIACS. In the past, RS485 cables have been required to link the machines to the network, causing installations to be more complicated and time consuming.
This is another example of x-ray technology addressing food production's need for greater traceability in the supply chain. Loma Systems, another manufacturer of metal detectors and X-ray systems for the food industry, is launching the Xe, the latest addition to its x-ray range.
The company claims that the new product is also capable of producing clear images at high line speeds, providing twice the resolution of competitor systems. What makes this product interesting is the fact that it allows the detection of minute contaminants including bone, rubber or plastic. Even products packaged in metal foil can be scanned.
Neural network technology provides sophisticated shape recognition either by zone or total pack, which enables the system to highlight product defects, missing items and under-filled packs.It is likely that more products such as these will come onto the market, with traceability in the food supply chain becoming mandatory. Manufacturers in the EU are preparing for forthcoming legislation on food traceability in January 2005. The new legislation means that food traceability through the supply chain is going to become a legal responsibility.
Under the new laws, food producers must be able to identify products by batch, lot or consignment numbers and traceability of the product must be possible at all stages of production, processing and distribution. This means food businesses will have to be able to identify every supplier of food, feed, a food producing animal or any substance incorporated into their food/feed products.
Cintex's modifications to its line of MIACS 2004 management software will be demonstrated at this year's Total expo in Birmingham, UK when a computer is linked by Ethernet connection to a Compact XP x-ray machine.