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DavidB

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 05:59 AM

We are investigating installation of XRay inspection equipment for crispbread products packed in flowwrapped foil after many years use of only having had up-line metal detectors.

Units from Smiths Detection and Safeline are being considered.

Could members offer advice of which of these 2 (or other) equipment they would recommend & have experience in using, which gives most reliable results, versatility, ease of use and maintenance?

Newer systems have advanced software that claim weight checking is possible (using product density) to 2% accuracy. Is anyone using Xray inspection for check weighing?

cheers

David :smile:



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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:39 PM

Any users with practical experience of Smiths Detection and/or Safeline X-Ray equipment to share with David.

Personally I'd always recommend Smith's Detection as they are a kind sponsor and supporter of our website. :smile:

Regards,
Simon


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DavidB

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:13 AM

Anyone??

Smiths,Saeline,Accuweigh,Loma, Anritsu or other?

any issues??

much appreciated!



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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:44 AM

I've used Mettler Toledo, Cintex (pre LOMA buy out) and LOMA equiment. I think LOMA are called Spectrum now or similar. I've had no problems with any of them apart from with products containing bones and products with a frozen and a fresh component but both problems were easy to resolve.

The only suggestion I'd have to make is to ensure you get enough training off the supplier for your machines and you lock out functions to change sensitivity to staff who shouldn't be changing such things! Personally I've always found x-rays far more reliable than metal detection. You might get better sensitivity too.



DavidB

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:45 AM

We have not looked into the Loma systems - thanks for the advice: the Safeline XRay AdvanChek and Inspire R20 models both have configurable password protection for sensitivity settings. We have not seen the Smiths detection equivalent but the spec has the same detail, and we would see this feature as a requirement. The R20 model has more sensitive detection, image analysis software and apparently mass detection but it is $30k dearer!



DavidB

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:57 AM

apologies for the garbled 'add on' - no idea where that came from :smile:



Simon

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 07:53 AM

apologies for the garbled 'add on' - no idea where that came from :smile:

No problem David - I got rid of it.

Now are there any other users of X-ray equipment out there?

Surely there must be???

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 11:26 AM

David

Have you consideredthe Sapphire alliance systems form Autopac Systems PTY



Simon

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 09:02 AM

David

Have you consideredthe Sapphire alliance systems form Autopac Systems PTY

Why consider them? David is asking for comparisons and recommendations to help him make a decision on a very large purchase. For example why are the Sapphire alliance systems from Autopac Systems PTY any better than Smiths Detection, Safeline, Cintex, MT or other machines?

What is the feature comparison, cost, reliability, functionality, performance, technical support, after sales service, servicing intervals, spare cost etc. etc. I believe it is this sort of information David is seeking. So saying get x-ray machine A from supplier B is not helpful. Are you connected with Sapphire in any way?

Regards,
Simon

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DavidB

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 12:49 AM

Alw

Yes we are considering Autopac equipment but as Simon suggests, if you are a user (and not a vendor) of an Autopac detector, do you have any information that would be of help?

In our opinion apart from the obvious hardware functionality, the software and service support are what is most important.

David



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Posted 28 May 2009 - 02:29 PM

David is going to spend several thousand aussie dollars, so can any x-ray equipment users please help him to make a good choice?

Regards,
Simon


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GMO

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 08:24 PM

We recently had less than useful service from Mettler. After writing a load of rubbish on the original calibration certificates meaning I couldn't show them to an auditor, they then took 3 weeks to come in and recalibrate. IMO their machines are fine but the service has been a bit lacking. Also the service engineer will say one thing to one person and another to someone else which can make troubleshooting a nightmare. It would be a different engineer for you though unless their patch is very large!

I'm not sure if this recommendation will be useful but we had a nightmare getting test cards off mettler in any kind of reasonable timescale so we now use http://www.icteststick.com/ not sure if they distribute in Aus?



DavidB

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 04:37 AM

GMO

thanks for advice

Would the Mettler equipment be Safeline? In Australia the agents are MPI (www.mpiaust.com.au) and equipment SAFELINE who so far appear to have potential to give good service back up - good technical knowhow from presentations so far - we will have to wait and see if they can deliver on after sales service IF we go with them..... I dont think Ictestick do calibration pieces in Aust. but we can get these elsewhere.



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Posted 04 June 2009 - 08:00 AM

Hi David,

Let me add first that I am from Smiths Detection.

I noted some questions about check weighing capability, password controlled access for sensitivity setting etc. Smiths Detection x-ray systems have the option of check weighing function and provide consistent weight measurements. Different levels of passowrd controlled access are available and sensitivity adjustments can be controlled.

I would be happy to assist you and provide more information appropriate to your application details.

Regards.

Kiran



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Posted 05 June 2009 - 05:18 AM

Kiran
Regarding checkweigh capability, we have online check weighers for both packs and cartons which have an accuracy to +-1gram and in terms of NSW trade legislation have to be certified as trade measurement instruments which are calibrated annually and verified every hour of operation and we have to show records of calibrations etc.

It would be good to be able to do away with checkweighing, and Im sure XRay mass detection would be useful but I am not sure whether XRAY equipment would qualify as trade measurement instruments in Australia - if not then we cannot use Xray detection for mass: How would it be possible to verify calibration and what are the accuracy limits of Smiths X ray equipment?
David



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Posted 05 June 2009 - 08:53 AM

Hi David,

I am not sure the accruacy you refer to is at 1 SD level or higher. The x-ray system can be calibrated for weight check function by using known weight products. The per cent accuracy will depend on the weight of product as well as the type of product. To discuss your application in details, may I ask direct contact? You may contact me at kiran.deochake-at-smithsdetection.com

Regards.

Kiran



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Posted 10 June 2009 - 07:09 PM

Hi,
Been using X-ray scanning on canned goods for several years. Have mixed feelings about them. They need different settings for different can contents, though this is probably not something which you would be concerned about with a crispbread.
Probably the best advice I can give you about cost is that maintenance is not cheap and make sure you understand the potential life and replacement cost of the X-ray source/bulbs. You also need to understand reliability in general in the environment you are using them, particularly if using the equipment for foreign body detection and you have the equipment as a CCP.



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Posted 12 June 2009 - 10:53 AM

Hi,
Been using X-ray scanning on canned goods for several years. Have mixed feelings about them. They need different settings for different can contents, though this is probably not something which you would be concerned about with a crispbread.
Probably the best advice I can give you about cost is that maintenance is not cheap and make sure you understand the potential life and replacement cost of the X-ray source/bulbs. You also need to understand reliability in general in the environment you are using them, particularly if using the equipment for foreign body detection and you have the equipment as a CCP.

Thanks for your input Philip.

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Helder

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 08:36 PM

Our Safeline type T2V x-ray is 8 years old and I'm shopping for a replacement. My understanding is that the technology has evolved considerably since my T2V was put into service.

Companies that I've seriously looked at are Anritsu, Ishida and Safeline. My own experience (working with older technology) has been that the operating cost is high ($15,000 x-ray tube every 5 years), service spotty (experts concentrated in a few select cities so expect to pay for planes and hotels when things break down after warranty), and the machine's operation was not nearly as repeatable as would be needed to give me confidence (this has hopefully changed with the newer machines).

My process is to compare specs (performance, size, maintenance, etc) particularly with the detector array resolution, measurement accuracy and repeatability etc. Then I go to a working comparable model and get a feel for the operation, and run seeded samples through to verify repeatability.

I'm only just started with the process so I cannot give you any recommendations. Ask about expected maintenance costs, how modular are the assemblies (can you install them yourself), how easy is their software to use (your training costs), what is saved in the product profiles (if power levels need to be changed and are not saved, then do you want your operator changing power levels?) and once you are comfortable that the machine has the required performance for YOUR product, make sure it is repeatable. Hope that helps.



Charles.C

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:06 PM

Dear Helder,

Many thks yr input and Welcome to the forum ! :welcome:

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


DavidB

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 03:39 AM

Helder

Thanks for the advice - We are close to making a decision. We have also looked Ishida, Anritsu - these 2 very briefly as not well represented in Australia - and Safeline, also Smiths, Autopac (Sapphire Alliance). We have found the cost of X-ray tubes varies greatly. Superior tubes apparently use "Beryllium glass" - much dearer - which allows for lower operating kV settings and therefore longer life - something to look into. We have been running tests with product to confirm repeatablility, % false rejects and software capability etc. - ease of use, backup service and maintenance costs are our main factors. Are you considering X-Ray online checkweighing function? Our product is too variable for the degree of accuracy required but for a homogenous product like Cheese it approaches the performance of standard check weighing.



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Posted 23 June 2009 - 03:34 PM

The little I know about the checkweighing function on x-ray is that at a practical level, it will really depend on how homogeneous your product is. This is because the x-ray converts the product scan into gray-scale dots, assigns a number to each dot gradient, and then adds them all up into a total number. So you scan your 'cupcake' and the x-ray does the math and comes up with a number (ie:3,567). If you now take that cupcake, weigh it precisely and enter that value into the machine, the x-ray will now associate the entered weight with the gradient count (ie: 3,567 = 30g).

Where things could go astray is with the algorithm the program uses converting different values into actual weight (especially as the difference increases), and when difference in mass are not a linear change in weight, or if there is debris on your belt, or the diode array is not uniform (so products appearing at a different location on the belt will have a slight difference etc etc.

Off the top of my head, those are just a few things I could speculate having a negative influence on the repeatability and accuracy of the checkweighing function. At the other extreme, if you're checkweighing a 50g chocolate bar with precise consistant dimensions. no added ingredients and using guide rails then the checkweighing function might be very consistant and accurate (but then you probably wouldn't be to worried about weighing it ;~)



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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:16 AM

Helder
I agree - in fact we have ruled out the checkweighing option based on our tests as our product density/mass variability is too great.
David



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Posted 24 June 2009 - 01:08 AM

In regards to the lower kV for extended life, I'd need to ask an x-ray tech to understand completely, but my understanding is that the applied voltage (kV) or the current (in mA) is varied according to the performance characteristic needed (this is automatically set during the product calibration cycle). Multipling the kV and mA gives you the wattage (ie: 50kV @ 5mA = 250W) which is the tube's rating. An x-ray tech would be needed to explain which (voltage or current) is what would de-rate the tube's life most quickly. I would expect if either were too high and approached the tube's maximum rating in watts, it would be a bad thing. I think these machines are all designed to stay well under the tube's rating when they are new, because as they age, the kV required to do the same job increases, until you are max'ed out.

Consequently, the advertisement that they only run at 2/3 power should be taken with a grain of salt because it means they have 1/3 reserve and they need that reserve as the tube grows old. Beware that the kV settings for similar products can be quite different. I've seen defaults of 30kV to 50kV on my products, and the ability to manually adjust these levels can be very useful, however that wide 20kV range means that I'll consume my 'age' safety factor more quickly.

Another parameter I'm looking at is the diode pitch used by the detector. This essentially defines the machine's measurement resolution, and high resolution means you can spot smaller contaminents. I believe my current machine has a 1mm pitch. The industry standard might be 0.8mm and I've been told that a few companies manufacture machines with a 0.4mm pitch (Anritsu and Ashida for certain). I'm now looking into a model which uses a 0.2mm pitch. The software imaging with multiple algorithms are probably the most powerful feature of these machines (separating the good machines from the very good), but like a computer, the hardware platform (or hardware resolution) is the basis the software can build on, so a small diode pitch would seem to be a very good thing.

Regarding usage as a checkweigher, even with a non-homogeneous product you might have some application for the mass measurement function. Use it to double-check your checkweigher (using a seperate output to alarm the user) or based on the known measurement resolution per product, blow the product off at the resolution limit, or use it to find missing products in multi-product packages. As long as the computer platform has the power to do this in parallel with the x-ray scan, at your product rate without any bad effects, why not use it? Where most of the processing is done varies by machine, but a lot of the application and user IO is the computer platform, so I'm looking at machines with modern computers running dual core processors. Touchscreens can be annoying and overloaded computers make them even worst! jmo



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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:32 AM

Have you considered the ScanVision systems manufactured by the company Rayonics Italia? They have over 20 years experience.






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