To help meet an even broader range of food safety and quality requirements, Minneapolis-based Thermo Fisher Scientific added inspection capabilities and enhanced detection to its original NextGuard X-ray platform, which launched in March 2013.
The NextGuard system is now designed to also inspect packaged products for flaws such as missing pieces or components using new, easily customizable vision software.
The product verification software allows customers to use a pull-down menu to quickly select and sequence a range of image processing and analysis algorithms. This enables a wide range of size, shape, angle, count and position-based inspections in minutes, rather than waiting weeks for custom software.
Also new are several additional algorithms, which target the detection of less dense contaminants such as glass or rocks in complex, textured products like nuts. Optional mass estimation software utilizes density information in the x-ray image to estimate weight and detect under/over filled products. The system is also now configurable for dual rejection, separating contaminated products from other quality errors.
In addition to software improvements, the enhanced NextGuard features hardware upgrades. For example, the standard system processor is now six times faster than the first generation NextGuard, supporting high-speed contaminant detection and inspection as well as improved user responsiveness. An optional 0.4mm-pixel detector offers 3.2 times better resolution for improved metal detection in lightweight, homogeneous products such as powders or cheese.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Product Inspection