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 SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Process Monitoring Technology

Real-Time X-Ray Imaging To Detect
Foreign Matter in Food Products

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Image: As x-rays pass through objects, they are differentially absorbed depending on the density variation of the material in the object.
  Image: As x-rays pass through objects, they are differentially absorbed depending on the density variation of the material in the object.
 

As x-rays pass through objects, they are differentially absorbed depending on the density variation of the material in the object.

As x-rays pass through objects, they are differentially absorbed depending on the density variation of the material in the object. If x-rays pass through an object and are collected using an image intensifier tube connected to a video camera, the internal structure of the object can be seen as an image. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) uses this technology to find foreign matter in food products.

 

For example, real-time x-ray imaging can be used to detect pits in the fruit pitting process. This technique was proven effective in detecting cherry pits in cherry pies. The upper image to the left shows an acceptable cherry pie, and the lower image shows a pie with a pit as noted. Furthermore, the light areas show air pockets that may not be desirable in the final product.

 

This technique can also be used to detect pits during the filling process. This detection process can be completely automated for in-line process monitoring by using a computer to analyze intensity levels in the real-time image.

 

Another concern is the detection of metal in meat products. In the process of preparing cattle for slaughter, it is common practice to inject the cattle with medication that kills potential disease. However, when the livestock does not comply with the person injecting the medication, the injection needle occasionally breaks off and stays in the animal. It is possible that a needle may not be found during processing using conventional electromagnetic sensors. Real-time x-ray can detect needles in packaged meat to prevent the hazard from reaching the consumer. SwRI has developed many such technologies to meet the demands of the food industry.

 

For more information about real-time X-ray imaging, or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Clinton J. Thwing, at cthwing@swri.org or (210) 522-3989.
 

Contact Information

Clinton J. Thwing

Process Monitoring Technology

(210) 522-3989

cthwing@swri.org

processmonitoring.swri.org

Related Terminology

real-time X-ray

-ray imaging detection

industrial process monitoring

product quality measurement

metal detection

remote process monitoring

mixing process monitoring

Related Information

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Sensor Systems and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Technology Department

| Sensor Systems and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Technology Department | Mechanical Engineering Division | SwRI Home |

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.

10/06/16