March 1, 2016
An eagle eye from feed to meat
Eagle Product Inspection is a specialist in X-ray inspection equipment. Sean Geng, channel manager for China, speaks about the company's latest developments.
eFeedLink: What was the response like for the company which made its debut appearance at IPPE this year, which is primarily a poultry event?
The response Eagle generated at IPPE was incredibly positive. For poultry manufacturers, and indeed the wider meat industry, there is a need for contaminant detection systems that not only optimise production by performing at high throughput speeds, but are also capable of operating within harsh wash-down environments. The RMI3/B X-ray inspection system, for example, complies with IP69K requirements and is capable of inspecting an impressive 50 tonnes of product per hour.
How has inspection technology for animal feed and food products changed since Eagle Product Inspection was established?
Advances in technology enable manufacturers today to operate in a far more efficient way than ever before. Inspecting products inline ensures a continuous process, keeping downtime to an absolute minimum while remaining compliant with food safety regulations.
One of the main advances for slaughterhouses and meat processors from Eagle's perspective is the introduction of Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) technology for fat analysis (FA) purposes. DEXA uses two energy spectrums to discriminate between high and low channel X-rays, enabling meat processors to take highly accurate chemical lean (CL) measurements. This ability to measure lean content leads to substantial cost benefits in terms of lean giveaway or reducing inconsistencies in recipe operations, for example.
For animal feed producers, advancements in reject mechanisms means that bulk, loose product can be inspected at high throughput and minimal product is rejected when a contaminant is detected using four-lane or air blast reject mechanisms.
The increased use of software to make inspection technology more intelligent is a big step forward for manufacturers and processors. Eagle's proprietary software such as SimulTask™ PRO that allows the X-ray inspection system to inspect multiple products simultaneously without the need for changeover and TraceServer™ that records valuable production data in a centralised database means that facilities have more insight into their production processes, both for internal analysis and to enhance traceability capabilities.
What do you think are today some of the biggest concerns of your customers dealing in animal feed and food products?
The regulatory landscape has changed immensely meaning stricter requirements with regard to food safety and harsher penalties for manufacturers.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control (HACCP) requirements are a good example, as manufacturers must identify critical control points (CCPs) -- areas where contamination is likely to occur -- and take action accordingly. X-ray inspection systems aid compliance through drastically reducing the possibility of a contaminated product progressing along the supply chain. Systems can be placed towards the beginning of the manufacturing process, before value is added through packaging, and also after the packaging stage as a final check before products are dispatched to retailers.
There has been a definite shift towards X-ray inspection as a technology as major national and international companies' own specifications increasingly require its use as standard in order to do business with them.
Product recalls are among the biggest concerns for food manufacturers, whether for human or animal consumption. The ability to insure a business against this risk is a major driver towards X-ray inspection technology as it detects not only metal but also glass, dense plastics and rubbers, stone and calcified bone. The ability to inspect 100% of product passing along production lines that X-ray detection offers is a huge advantage for companies when it comes to quality assurance.
Tell us more about your products and solutions for the animal feed and food industries.
Animal feed manufacturers can now benefit from enhanced contaminant detection, improved product handling, and streamlined maintenance for dry bulk foods with the new Eagle™ Bulk 415 PRO X-ray inspection system from Eagle Product Inspection. Featuring an innovative cupped conveyor and four-lane flap rejecter, the new system is ideal for production lines processing animal feed and other high-volume bulk products. The Bulk 415 PRO maximises contaminant removal while cutting product waste, as well as reducing downtime to boost line efficiency.
The Eagle RMI3 Series is ideal for contaminant detection in meat for those working with unpacked bulk, open crate and carton applications, with systems having been designed specifically to operate within harsh wash-down environments. The RMI3/B ensures reliable inspection of unpackaged bulk products, such as chicken and raw beef, at speeds of up to 37 metres per minute (120 FPM). Its maximum throughput is an impressive 50 tonnes per hour and by utilising a unique troughed belt, product presentation can be improved and sanitation requirements are met.
For manufacturers producing ground meat chubs, and other packaged meat and poultry products, and looking to streamline operations, the Pack 400 HC eliminates the need for multiple systems on the line, such as checkweighers, metal detectors and vision systems. With multiple inspection capabilities, the system provides superior contamination detection while simultaneously measuring mass (to avoid costly giveaway), and inspecting seal integrity (such as ensuring aluminum clips are present and correctly positioned).
The newest addition to Eagle's FA3 fat analysis platform, the Eagle FA3/M, meets the needs of manufacturers requiring multiple applications, ranging from fresh and hot-boned, to chilled and frozen in loose bulk or carton and crate formats. Quality is ensured for meat processed on the production line by the use of Eagle's third generation Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) technology that discriminates between fat and lean portions of 100% of the throughput products. Throughput is further enhanced by Eagle's proprietary inspection software, which enables the FA3/M to inspect up to 2,400 plastic crates or frozen blocks per hour or up to 35 tonnes of bulk meat per hour.
Its AUTOCALTM automated calibration system, coupled with VALIDATETM, makes it the only machine in the industry to feature automatic calibration and validation. Operators are able to precisely calibrate the machine in less than one minute with a simple tap of the touch screen and are then able to validate this calibration at any time. These features remove the need to use unsanitary and potentially unsafe phantom blocks on the factory floor.
How do you see your product range for animal feed and food products change in the next five years to meet customers' expectations?
What we are seeing is a need to supply complete solutions, therefore we are looking closely as how we can help our customers to integrate systems to their best advantage.
Eagle has a wide range of products suitable for an equally wide range of applications - whether packaged, unpackaged or bulk goods. We recognise the fact that every production facility has different demands and installation requirements and are able to tailor our solutions to precisely meet customers' needs. We can look at system requirements such as length, height, functionality and reject design in order to ensure seamless integration into your line.
A good example of this can be seen at the forthcoming IFFA exhibition in Germany, where we will have an integrated poultry inspection system - including trimming stations, X-ray inspection technology and reject facility. Supported by SF Engineering, the solution enables poultry manufacturers to pass chicken breasts, for example, through the X-ray machine once trimmed to check for contaminants. If a product does not pass inspection, it can be rejected and sent to a rework station in order to be physically checked for contaminants and then either rejected or rescanned. This has the potential to reduce wastage and therefore increase profits.
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