14 July 2021
PICKING UP CONTAMINANTS
MACHINE learning is now pushing the innovation boundaries in manufacturing while streamlining production processes but understanding of the chemical makeup and molecular structures of potatoes is key to ensuring performance is optimised, experts stress.
Density, water concentration, storage temperatures, heat, thawing and even seasonal and soil variations, are among the many factors that could affect the performance of food inspection machines dealing with potatoes, which come in all shapes and sizes.
How fats, proteins, carbohydrates and sugars change during processing and storage will initiate a chemical reaction. To the naked eye, and even taste buds, these changes are barely noticeable. Yet, for wet and conductive foods, they can appear like completely different products to a sensitive metal detector inspecting the same foods over an eight-hour shift.
For earth grown products like potatoes which start as tubulars, crop sabotage and product tampering can be especially concerning. Many large food producers require growers to screen crops in bulk well before the end of line inspection process.
European Managing Director of Fortress Technology and Sparc Systems, Phil Brown, said a multifaceted approach using x-ray, metal detection and vibratory shakers to eliminate loose stones can form part of this strategy while smart technologies are available that can adapt to changing food characteristics.
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