WIPOTEC-OCS introduced a new and compact model of its X-ray inspection scanner during IPPE. The company has headquarters in Georgia and is part of the Germany-based WIPOTEC group.
We spoke to Matthias Kleine, director of sales, food industry, WIPOTEC-OCS to hear more about how the company is addressing feed safety.
WIPOTEC-OCS has established a range of precision weighing and scanning machines that use electromagnetic force restoration (EMFR) to work while a product is in motion, said Kleine. The equipment can be used to weigh or scan a range of products and in amounts varying from pharmaceutical sizes to bagged feeds and pet food.
“We have case weighers, as well, and a heavy-duty pusher if it’s a big case of animal feed that weighs like 50-70lbs,” he told us. “We’re customer-focused and application-focused – we want to see the product, see the dimensions – the piece is permanent and then we build the product around the customer’s product at the end of the day.
“We don’t have off-the-shelf equipment,” he added. “It’s all engineered and designed by us.”
The systems can store details and specifications to check multiple products or recipes depending on which is selected during its operation, he said. “It makes it really convenient – for the most part the operators just have to select the recipe, hit the start button and [it] runs.”
Feed safety and product analysis
The assessment equipment can check the weight of an enclosed product such as bagged feed, said Kleine. It can remove products that are too heavy or light from the production process.
“If it’s too light and if it is food or animal feed … there could be customer complaints,” he said. “Overfilling a little bit then consumers get free food – at the end of the day, what I see is if it’s overfilled it is considered a good product and it continues, if it’s under-filled they pull the bags from production.”
On the feed safety side, in addition to checking product weight, the systems can X-ray or scan feed products for metal, he said. The metal detection system can be used to look for metal particulates including ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless-steel pieces.
However, the X-ray scan can be used to find a wider range of potential feed safety issues including contaminants like glass, he said. “This is for bulk flow or unpackaged meat or animal feed on the conveyer,” he added.
“When you come to X-ray you’re looking for differences in density – the rule of thumb is whatever floats in water is not detectable by an X-ray machine,” said Kleine. “Wood floats, it’s very light, it’s not very dense, but you can see the piece of wood on the X-ray screen, but the machine won’t detect it – it’s looking for something that would be more dense than animal feed.”
Currently, WIPOTEC is working on developing a machine that is more skilled at detecting thin pieces of bone – like those from chicken or fish, he said. Chicken bones can have higher amounts of water and cartilage when birds are processed, compared to other species, which makes them harder to find.
If the development process proceeds as anticipated, the new technology is set to be introduced by the end of the year, he said. “Then we’ll have a solution to find chicken bones,” he added.
“At the end of the day, we’re looking for 100% consumer safety,” he said. “That’s why we’re working on the [new] technology to find more things that shouldn’t be in animal feed or food in general.”