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OIS Engineering launches a wider range of x-ray contaminant detection systems.

Just one year on from it's acquisition by Elbicon NV., the restructured OIS Engineering has expanded the product range dramatically. The past six months have seen the launch of a totally new jar/tin inspection system and a wider range of belt width/reject mechanism options for the on-conveyor inspection machine.

ELBISCAN X300/400/600 On Conveyor Inspection System:

The ELBISCAN X400 system (formerly named "HAWKEYE") has been enhanced by the introduction of two new belt width options - a 600mm (X600) and a 300mm (X300), thus providing greater compatibility with a wider number of existing production lines. A new range of reject mechanisms have also been designed.


As with all it's food industry machinery, the OIS philosophy of providing the highest performance and quality has applied to these new products. Equipment is designed and manufactured under the BS5750 (ISO9001) quality system and meets the highest levels of safety.


The ELBISCAN X series are all manufactured to an IP65 environmental standard and can be steam cleaned. The access lid and belt assembly are easily lifted using gas struts and the conveyor belt can be removed in seconds. The unique design of the belt assembly allows for high levels of hygiene to be maintained even in the most 'hostile' environments.


System control is via an industry standard IBM Compatible PC, user interfacing being via a 16-key numeric keypad with the system menus and parameters displayed on a large and bright green fluorescent display. Up to 100 different product procedures can be stored, with the internal computer providing both control and statistical information. The system is expandable and additional options can be retro-fitted.


The x-ray power is provided by a high power and high stability generator driving a rugged, water cooled metal-ceramic x-ray tube. The tubehead has the added safety feature of an auxiliary cooling system in the event of water cut-off. Using a high power x-ray source yields better contrast, which results in higher levels of contaminant detectability and lower false reject rates.


The x-ray detectors for the ELBISCAN X300/400/600 consist of arrays of x-ray sensitive photodiodes of an effective pitch of 0.4mm with the three machines containing 768, 1024 and 1536 elements respectively. This very high resolution allows detection of extremely small contaminants-on many products fine sieve wire of 0.2mm dia. by 1.5mm length can be detected at belt speeds up to 20metres/minute. This performance far exceeds any known magnetic metal detector capability and detectability is identical for both ferrous and non ferrous wire. Sophisticated processing techniques are utilised to ensure signal stability prior to contaminant recognition.


Two methods of recognition are employed within the ELBISCAN X system:

* Active Density Thresholding

* Morphological Processing.

The Active Density Thresholding technique involves examining a single line or lines of photodiode data to establish whether an abnormal density has occurred. Contaminants such as glass, wire, stone, bone and some plastics are more dense than the product itself, so attenuate the x-rays more. This density change is detected by a level comparator within the computer system, the sensitivity of which is set within the product procedure.

The Morphological Detection technique is extremely sophisticated and involves detection of contaminants by shape, position, density, size and texture. The combination of image enhancement techniques and boolean algebra operations gives the system the highest levels of detectability.


A wide range of reject mechanisms have been designed for the ELBISCAN X machines. The range now included multi-lane dropflaps, multi-lane driven beltflaps, single and bidirectional rodless piston push-offs and the incorporation of the innovative Elbicon air-jet nozzle system providing up to 72 separate reject nozzles over a 600mm belt width.


The safety of the ELBISCAN X series has always been paramount. All machines have been designed to meet all European and US FDA standards. All access panels and lids are double interlocked and typical external radiation levels are almost unmeasurable at a low 1 microsievert/hour allowing for operation by unregistered personnel, even those under the age of 18. Careful internal collimation reduces the dose uptake to the food to less than 5 millisieverts, a level 100 times less than the W.H.O. recommended maximum.


The ELBISCAN X series can handle a wide variety of different products and has already been used on the following products:

* Cooked/Crumbed Chicken

* Chicken & Turkey Breasts

* Uncooked Meat

* Powdered Milk

* Dried Fruit

* Peanuts

* Fish (find Bones)

* Confectionary


The ELBISCAN X18K is another recent introduction to the product range. Firmly based on the well proven design principles and components of the X400 machine, the X18K is specifically engineered for the inspection of jars and cans.

The product is presented to the machine via an industry standard 3.25" slat belt conveyor. As the product passes into the inspection area a laser beam triggers the start of acquisition of the image. An x-ray beam is emitted from one side of the belt and picked up by an x-ray detector mounted directly opposite. The signal is sent to a separate control console containing the morphology processor. Products containing contaminants are then rejected via a high speed air piston actuator and passed to a reject system. The Elbiscan X18K can typically detect glass in glass jars down to 2.5mm. The line speeds achievable are dependant on the product density, jar diameter/height and the minimum contaminant sizes required to be detected. Line speeds of 400 jars/min have been achieved on 450 gramme preserves and smaller jars such as 200 gramme babyfood can be inspected at 500-600 jars/min with 2.0mm glass readily found.


The introduction of this enhanced range of top specification x-ray contaminant detection systems by OIS Engineering allows for the reliable detection of a wider range of contaminants at most stages of the production cycle. The higher level of performance of the ELBISCAN X compared to other systems maximises contaminant detection and minimises false rejects so common with lower specification machines. The hygiene aspects of the design set new standards within the food inspection industry.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Food Trade Press Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:OIS Engineering Ltd.
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Aug 1, 1993
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