Sesotec, Bartlett, Ill., developed multi-product software for the RAYCON x-ray systems, allowing several products to run in one program, but with enhanced settings to reduce sensitivity for all simple and homogeneous products.

The new multi-product software automatically detects when product such as ready-made meals with different components (meat, rice and vegetables) is just passing through the scanner and selects a pre-defined parameter set. This means that different products can be transported through the x-ray scanner in "chaotic" order. Individual products are identified by way of defined image characteristics, and the respective settings, e.g. the sensitivity, are automatically selected for the correct product. It is no longer necessary for the operating staff to perform a manual product change, and every individual product is inspected with maximum sensitivity.

How it works is the scanner takes an image of the product to be inspected and checks the product for contaminants. The reject unit is activated when a contamination is detected. If a product is conveyed that has not yet been learned and that is different with respect to packing, product shape, density, etc., the software detects a difference from the saved parameter set and automatically sorts out the product.

Up to 20 so-called "sub-products" can be defined. A special product can be learned for each of these sub-products, for example if a product must be inspected for weight deviations. Such settings can be defined for every individual product. When a product passes through the x-ray scanner, it is assigned to the respective sub-product by way of the above-mentioned criteria. The inspection for contaminants or other product defects depends on the sub-product settings.

When an "unknown," not yet learned product passes through the scanner, it will be assigned to the so-called "default product." This subprogram ensures that products not defined or assigned are automatically separated. "Sub-product" settings only can be set by way of a so-called "autolearn." With this option, a manual product change is no longer necessary.