Machine Vision Inspection for the Food Industry
Proper inspection is essential in the food industry. The loss of revenue and customer trust that occurs after recalls can cripple a business and expose it to fines or litigation. The government and consumers have zero tolerance for error.
Traditional inspection processes rely on people to check for safety, quality and consistency. This is expensive, subjective, and open to human error from inexperienced or tired employees. Machine vision systems allow a food producer to ensure high levels of safety and consistency among its products, while also keeping costs down.
Machine vision systems rely on cameras and software to automatically check products on a manufacturing line at high-speed and without human intervention. These systems can detect 100% of inconsistencies, without any human error of their own. They can inspect products far faster than human inspectors, and they can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without breaks and without loss of efficacy due to fatigue, illness or inexperience. And when human oversight is needed, machine vision systems can also create logs of the data gathered in their automatic inspections for later review.
Machine vision systems can support your food manufacturing business in the following areas:
1. Safety Inspection
Machine vision systems can identify foreign material that infiltrates food packages and alert you to the problem. Cameras can rapidly and automatically read test strips to weed out contaminated food. Or spectral cameras can identify contaminants we can’t see with our eyes, without the need for any people to actually touch the food. Machine vision systems can identify cross-contamination, which could cause problems for consumers with food allergies, exposing your company to law suits and bad press. Inspection for color, ripeness, spoilage and proper cooking time will also guaranteed safe and delicious food that will keep customers coming back for more.
2. Track and Trace
Machine Vision systems can track ingredients and finished, packaged products through the duration of the production process. They can identify mismatched product codes, dates, lots, and barcodes to prevent food leaving your line with incorrect data. They can also stop illegible or missing codes. And machine vision systems compile a tracking history of each package for future reference.
Mislabeled food can cause harmful allergic reactions in customers and lead to a costly, government-mandated recall, and/or legal liability for your company. Machine vision systems can identify products that are mislabeled due to machine or human error and remove them from the manufacturing line. These systems can also detect misaligned or wrinkled labels which would damage your company’s reputation by implying that you are sloppy or careless. With machine vision systems all your products will look uniformly neat and professional.
Machine vision systems can catch misprinted or illegible packaging before those items leave your production line. They also notice when labels for a different product or an alternate destination for a product are substituted for the correct label, or when lids don’t match the rest of the packaging. Machine vision can verify the integrity of recycled packaging materials, as well, making sure they are clean and in good repair.
5. Container Integrity
Machine vision can protect your company from loss caused by spillage and spoiling from improperly sealed containers. If any of your containers do not seal properly, a machine vision system will identify the breach. Fill levels are also checked to ensure consistency among your products. These systems can confirm the presence of foil covers and anti-tamper seals and make sure they are properly affixed.
Integro Technologies has machine vision systems for food and beverage inspection, and can help you with your verification needs. Our consultants can craft the perfect system to save you money and improve your product quality and consistency.