Ishida X-ray inspection system uses genetic algorithm to detect meat contaminants

Ishida X-ray inspection system uses genetic algorithm to detect meat contaminants

05 Jul 2018 --- An X-ray inspection system from Ishida is enabling German meat and sausage manufacturer Goldschmaus Natur to meet the highest quality standards required for the export of its Frankfurter sausages to Japan. The patented technology behind Ishida’s X-ray inspection systems is based on software incorporating an intelligent genetic algorithm which checks for contaminants in the meat.

The Ishida IX-GA-2475, which has been designed for inspecting small products at high speeds, has been installed at Goldschmaus Natur’s factory in Garrel, Münsterland to check for foreign bodies in unpacked Frankfurter sausages produced according to a special recipe for the Japanese restaurant and catering industry.

The sausages are taken to the production line in strings on special smoke trolleys and manually fed onto the processing line. Once cut from the strings, the individual sausages pass through the X-ray system at high speed, separated by only a few centimeters.

By analyzing image data over a number of generations, the machine achieves an extremely high level of inspection accuracy. Since similar contaminants are usually found again and again in sausage manufacture, the system can be optimized to look for these objects. This collects valuable visual and numerical information that helps to eliminate recurring sources of contamination. In this way, Goldschmaus Natur can demonstrate that it's production and packaging processes are properly and correctly performed.

The Ishida IX-GA 2475 is operating at a belt speed of 60 meters per minute, inspecting up to 200 sausages per minute. While the X-ray inspection system could potentially deliver even better performance, this is limited by the upstream cutter.

Despite its high speed, the system reliably detects foreign bodies such as pieces of metal, glass and plastic as well as gristle and bone. The requirement to reliably detect pieces of metal with a diameter of 0.6 mm, glass with a diameter of 2 mm and plastic with a diameter of 5 mm has been fulfilled, as regular functional checks with specially prepared products demonstrate.

In addition, the system is also able to reject sausages that exhibit other flaws such as clumps of herbs or damaged items. A special high-speed reject arm directs rejected sausages into a reject bin. The data log collects all information and helps to eliminate recurring sources of contamination, while also providing confirmation that the production processes are properly and correctly set up.

The new X-ray inspection system is used by Goldschmaus Natur mainly in a two-shift operation and, thanks to its IP 65 protection rating, can easily withstand the humid production environment. It did not take long for the operators to familiarize themselves with this largely maintenance-free machine. The easy-to-use X-ray system features an automatic set-up function and is ready within 90 seconds. Fine adjustments can be made during operation without interrupting the production. Up to 100 programmable pre-sets allow rapid product changeovers.

For Operations Manager Michael Schmolke, the benefits of this X-ray inspection system are clear: “It can find all sorts of foreign bodies – and not just metal. Also, no other system on the market can check for foreign bodies at such high speeds.”

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