HEUFT X-ray technology Part 1: On the pulse of precision

What makes the further optimised X-ray technology from HEUFT so unique is the fact that it is pulsed:  the X-rays are only emitted briefly when they are really needed instead of constantly.  The result:  exceptionally high detection accuracy at unequalled low radiation levels.

An infectious rhythm in music, a lively exuberant metropolis, a healthy and strong heart: anyone wishing to describe something like this likes to refer to the little vivid word "pulsating". Indeed the term is definitely regarded positively: when something pulsates it is emitting energy. It does not merely drift around stiffly and sluggishly without special highlights. On the contrary it is propulsive, vitalising and wakes up.

In other words something which pulsates is perceived to be something better, something outstanding. And in fact it also perceives outstandingly better. In any case when it comes to the X-ray detection of foreign objects and defects at unequalled low radiation levels. This is exactly why it, the X-ray technology which is only available from HEUFT, is pulsed. In other words: X-rays are not continuously emitted when inspecting beverage bottles, bars of chocolate or injection instruments in-line. Quite the reverse: in contrast to conventional X-ray scanners where this is always the case there is no emission whatsoever during 99 per cent of the operating time.

Exactly pulsed and precisely detected


Because X-raying does not take so long at all – the detection is inactive! It is only electrically activated when it is really necessary: precisely at that moment when the product to be inspected passes the inspection station. A beam is not emitted then but only an "X-ray pulse" with an individually adjustable intensity which lasts no more than one thousandth of a second. An average bolt of lightning lasts almost 100 times as long in comparison.

The exposure time is therefore extremely short. This ensures an outstanding detection accuracy together with a further optimised receiver and image converter technology as well as real-time image processing capable of learning. The product flow is literally "frozen" by the pulsating whereas motion blurs can impair the clarity of the X-ray images and cover up the objects to be identified in the case of the classic line scanner when the conveyors are running fast: streaks and out-of-focus areas which impair the detection of glass splinters, small pieces of metal or product incompleteness cannot occur in the first place. The pulsed X-rays make minute faults visible even on high-speed lines where up to 1,200 products per minute are examined. The high image quality is not affected by the production speed.

Individual pulses instead of continuous X-rays

Compared with continuously active X-rays the unique technology stands out together with its radiation safety. After all X-rays are not emitted for a long time but only pulsed briefly: the X-ray pulses are only placed when there is something to inspect just like fine pinpricks. Namely electrically generated – with individually adjustable tension, length and intensity. Because the following also applies in this case: quality instead of quantity – high radiation levels are not absolutely necessary for a high degree of detection reliability. Quite the reverse. The intensity of an average pulsed X-ray measurement is less than the limit value of 10,000 gray by more than 600 million times. 10,000 gray is the limit up to which the irradiation of food is considered to be harmless e.g. by the World Health Organization. The 0.000015 gray of a pulse is also a far cry from the marking obligation for irradiated products: almost 7,000 times more is permitted for pharmaceutical products and even 30,000 times more for food. And the radiation energy of a pulse amounts to just 70 kilo electron volts instead of the permissible 10,000 for both sectors.

The radiation dose is also unbeatably low. With only ten microsieverts per measurement it is 30 times lower than the daily intake of natural radioactivity alone in the diet of every human being. Exposure is even up to 900 times higher on a long-haul flight and almost 200 times during a medical X-ray. And it also all works out the same whether a product is briefly X-rayed once with the pulsed X-ray technology or left for three days where it was produced: that is how high the natural radiation is at the HEUFT production plant in Burgbrohl – and that is how low the exposure remains during the product and packaging inspection with the X-ray procedure only available there. The maximum emitted dose per measurement is 0.1 millisievert only a hundredth of that which conventional X-ray scanners emit on average.

Gentle and precise foreign object detection

And that happens all in all up to 99 per cent less often. Finally the following applies: no X-ray activity when there is a power failure, no X-ray activity when there are conveyor stops and no X-ray activity when there are gaps in the production flow. The radiometric pulse is really only briefly activated when it is actually needed due to superior HEUFT procedures for product tracking with millimetre accuracy. The pulsating heart of the X-ray systems of the new HEUFT eXaminer II series generates an unprecedented detection accuracy at a simply unbelievably low level of radiation. Foreign objects such as tiny glass splinters and small pieces of metal which cannot be seen at all with the naked eye are perceived by the unique technology outstandingly better and more carefully than conventional X-ray scanners. Anyone investing in it is keeping a finger on the pulse of time – and on the pulse of precision!