It has created a new generation of sensors to highlight the entire seal cavity - the smart electro-optical system was patented at the end of 2013. The contrast quality renders all the defects in the sealing zone: lack of sealant, bubbles, folds, broken tray and presence of contaminant.
It has also adapted the design of its machines to the requirements of its customers with a sealing index of IP 65 for control units in white rooms.
Christophe Venaille, managing director, Luceo, told FoodProductionDaily it wants to address all types of packages and to be more efficient in the type of defects found.
“We want to further push the limits of detection and cover the whole supply chain: from the arrival of bulk raw materials at the processing plant to packaged finished products. In the field of vision inspection we are definitely heading towards full control,” he said.
“We are convinced the use of vision inspection will become widespread over the coming years, not only because this technology complements production line automation, but because full inspection of packaging is more reliable in terms of more health security and it’s more economical as it can curb scrap.”
The ThermoSecure machines simultaneously control the packaging itself, its seal (presence of contaminants, bubbles, wrinkles) and compliance of the labelling on one or several faces (presence of the label, position, orientation, checking of legal wording).
Smithfield and Nestlé
It works with whole food processors packing food inside a top-sealed pack, MAP trays or flexible pouches.
Segments are coldcut, processed meats, fresh and ambient ready meals, sliced cheese, and babyfood. Customers include Smithfield and Nestlé.
Venaille added sealing is a critical control point in food security that is sometimes difficult to master, so full inspection via vision systems are required on production lines.
As an example, he said tray or bag packaging conditioned in a modified atmosphere is becoming widespread. The sealing of this packaging guarantees it is hermetically sealed from the outside environment, irrespective of the technology used to create it.
“This sealing is both an essential safeguard against health risks, but also a link exposed to particular stresses throughout the product's life cycle (crating, transport, and shelving). The slightest sealing defect is totally excluded as it could impair the primary function of the packaging, which is to protect the food from the plant to the plate,” he said.
“To stop these risks, manufacturers must make their control procedures more reliable but also save and store their data to ensure traceability for the product. These requirements are driving the development of full control of the manufactured products that only vision inspection systems can perform at satisfactory rates.”
According to Venaille, there was a time when the end of line operator, by performing the final packaging, could visually check the products and discard defective ones.
“This is now no longer the case as most of these stations are currently fully automated and the operator has disappeared,” he said.
“Production rates have also reached levels in such a way they exceed the capacity for humans to process in real time. The electronic eye keeps pace.
“Thanks to new generations of sensors, electronic boards and software developed by vision inspection specialists, the electronic eye can now do better than the human eye. More precise and more rapid, it can control each packaging item in real time at rates impossible for a human to maintain.”
Luceo Inspection Worldwide is a business unit within TIAMA group packaging inspection, which includes food and pharmaceutical industries (Luceo), and glass (MSC&SGCC). It is active in Europe and North America and clients include retailer Intermarché; The Campofrio group, processed meat; Fratelli Tanzi, a cured meat producer and Hausbeck Pickle Co.
Luceo will be exhibiting at Interpack, Dusseldorf, Germany, from May 8-14 in Hall 5 Stand E26.