They create an advanced inspection prototype

The AINIA Technology Center reported on the development of an inspection system that records the temperature distribution in heat-sealed containers to detect defects. The AINIA Technology Center has developed an advanced inspection system that records the temperature distribution of the sealing area in the container’s polymers to detect, in real time, any possible defect that may occur during the molding, filling or sealing process.

This prototype, based on a thermography system (captures a thermal image), has been successfully evaluated in different types of packaging such as: ready meals, nuts and meat products packed in trays or in bags. Furthermore, it is patented.

Ricardo Díaz, Head of Instrumentation and Automation at the AINIA Technology Center and coordinator of the Foodscan project, said: “Food products are perishable and proper packaging is essential to maintain lifetime and prevent its deterioration. The market tends to present food in plastic containers because they are light in weight, allow the product to be visible, guarantee its properties and have low prices. However, the closure is not always hermetically sealed, which can lead to rapid spoilage of the product. With this system, we manage to guarantee the integrity of the packaging and enable the food to reach the consumer in perfect condition.”

As part of the Foodscan project, supported by the Valencian Institute for Business Competitiveness (IVACE) and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the AINIA Centro Tecnologico has developed and validated two more advanced inspection prototypes: one based on chemical imaging and the other on infrared vision.

– Chemical picture for classification of plastics in recycling processes and knowledge of 100% composition of meat products:
The Technology Center has validated a prototype of inspection based on chemical imaging, an innovative technique that allows obtaining a map of the composition of the product being processed in real time. The system is based on spectral vision technology, which uses a sensor to obtain an infrared spectral fingerprint of food, which enables the identification of the chemical composition of each product, unlike conventional inspection methods that only allow the evaluation of characteristics related to color and shape.

The developed prototype was validated for two applications. In one of them, one hundred percent of the composition of meat products is evaluated and classified according to quality, since it is possible to classify batches according to the amount of fat present and according to the quality of the meat, related to color, texture and amount of water.

In the second case, plastics are classified in recycling processes according to their composition, achieving greater efficiency than the technologies currently used in plants to separate recycled material.

– Infrared visual system for detecting foreign substances in processed food:
Using highly sensitive infrared cameras and high-intensity light sources, the ability of this technology to find organic and inorganic foreign substances in products such as jams and jams, as well as in seafood and processed meat products, has been demonstrated. This is possible because infrared light penetrates to organic products in spectral bands where water is weakly absorbent.

Díaz pointed out: “the developed prototypes and their application to real cases allowed us to adapt new inspection technologies that allow us to solve problems that commercially available technologies are not able to solve. These technologies can be adapted to companies’ requirements, integrating automation into control and inspection processes for improvement food safety“, reduce costs and losses as well as increase productivity by improving real-time quality control and safety of food and packaging during the production process.”

The technology center is also developing and validating two more real-time inspection prototypes: a chemical imaging system to know the composition of 100% food and classify plastics for recycling, and another based on infrared radiation to detect foreign substances in processed food, for example jams.

Source: Press – Technological Center AINIA.

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