All-in-one solution for an unrestricted can inspection
What makes the HEUFT eXaminer II XS so unique is not only the pulsed X-ray technology which is not available anywhere else but also, among other things, its clever container tracking and handling. In this interview, our product manager in charge, Dirk Henschke, explains the advantages it offers for full container inspection at the end of beverage and food canning lines.
What is so special about pulsed X-rays from HEUFT and what are the benefits when inspecting filled cans?
Dirk Henschke: "In order to be able to inspect them even when they are running through the canning line close together at high speed an X-ray technology with very short evaluation times is required so that every single can can really be examined before the next one reaches the X-ray beam. At high speeds, the evaluation time would otherwise have to be reduced. And that in turn reduces the sensitivity when detecting foreign objects within the can. These limitations are eliminated with our pulsed X-ray technology. It inspects every single can within a very short time."
How fast does that actually work?
Dirk Henschke: "Every incoming can is tracked. As soon as one is exactly in front of the X-ray generator, it emits an X-ray pulse for only one millisecond. This 'freezes' the movement of the can. Thus, a sharp X-ray image in very high resolution is guaranteed. Even in high-speed operation, the sensitivity doesn't go down."
And that only works with pulsed X-ray?
Dirk Henschke: "Correct. And only with a track-and-trace system through the entire machine. This also ensures that even at high speeds the right can is always safely rejected – i.e. exactly the one where there is a foreign object."
So when 100,000 cans and more are being filled every hour, it's important that the inspector keeps up with this pace. What else is important in terms of line efficiency and productivity?
Dirk Henschke: "He has to handle the cans dynamically, regardless of whether they run through the machine close together or on a gap. Changing speeds must be possible. And starts and stops within the machine without having to empty it. Every stop or even every malfunction in the rejection area reduces the efficiency of the line and costs the operator a lot of money. Thus a strong package of hardware and software is necessary to meet these requirements. All this is given with the HEUFT eXaminer II XS."
Can the lateral inspector also be integrated into already existing canning lines?
Dirk Henschke: "The space available there is often very limited. This is why the HEUFT eXaminer II XS is so compact and modular. Based on a single universal platform all the important components are identical across all inspection approaches. Depending on the customer's requirements additional detection modules can be added in a space-saving manner, for example for checking closures or best-before dates. This makes it an all-in-one solution. The upgrade can even be done retrospectively; the system grows with the customer's needs and wishes without him having to buy a new one straight away."
Back to X-ray inspection. Does it cover the full volume of beverage and food cans?
Dirk Henschke: "For standard beverage cans, definitely. Because foreign objects contained in them always sink towards the base, a single X-ray flash is sufficient for this. Tests have shown, however, that with higher cans there are restrictions in the upper part, where – particularly with canned food – foreign objects can also be found. That is why it is better to use two separate detection units that inspect the entire bottom of the can as well as the filling line area. The latter is very important for our customers. The seaming process can cause chips to form in the upper can area. Thanks to the unique solution of making the second sidewall emitter including the receiver electrically height-adjustable HEUFT has the market advantage of always being able to look particularly through this area even when the can heights differ. This puts an end to compromises in the filling level area! Larger container diameters can also impair the detection performance. Thanks to our special arrangements, however, we can completely inspect cans with diameters from 40 to 155 millimetres without creating blind areas."
And what about radiation protection?
"The HEUFT eXaminer II XS takes a completely new approach here. Different radiation protection plates close during the automatic type change depending on the can size. This puts an end to lead curtains which are susceptible to wear. And during line stops, the radiation is completely switched off so that the user can work on the open unit without any problems. This raises the safety of the X-ray inspection device to a completely new level. All the HEUFT eXaminer II systems are designed as standard so that the user is perfectly protected. HEUFT makes no compromises when it comes to safety. This also applies to CE conformity."
So there is a lot to be said for the compact HEUFT solution. What are the most important advantages from your point of view?
Dirk Henschke: "We have the advantage of a high resolution. We have the advantage of not losing any sensitivity in the detection of faults even at high line speeds. We also have the advantage of being able to convey the cans through the machine with or without gaps. We are also much more flexible with the mechanical design. And because of the pulsed X-ray, we have no radiation in stop situations. In addition there is the possibility of integrating further detection technologies which allow HEUFT devices to mature into multifunctional all-in-one solutions. And we do not leave our customers on their own when it comes to integrating them into the line either: HEUFT manufactures the necessary conveyor pieces or reject tables itself and provides support when integrating the device into the conveyor control. HEUFT therefore offers more because HEUFT is system technology! The video deposited here gives a nice impression of this. This customer has several HEUFT eXaminer II XS systems. We also look at the best-before date using camera technology and check whether it has been printed legibly and correctly and reject faulty cans separately. We supplied the belts and the control system and integrated everything over a weekend so that the filling of 42,000 cans per hour could start the following Monday."
Good! What do you recommend to interested parties who want to find out more about HEUFT X-ray systems not only for can inspection?
"If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Simply use the request button to contact me, I look forward to hearing from you!"