01 Jul 2016


With the Food Standards Agency reporting a 78% increase in the number of product recalls last year, ensuring food safety is maintained throughout the production process is more important than ever.  Interfood Technology, through its dedicated Packing Solutions Division (one of eight divisions now operated by the company), offers the Sparc range of integrated metal detection/checkweighing, X-Ray/checkweighing, and pipeline X-Ray systems, all of which utilise the same design and detection technology well proven within the meat industry.

The machines are all electric so do not require compressed air, giving the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. In addition, the combination metal detection/checkweigher and X-Ray/checkweigher systems are fully integrated within a small footprint to save space and provide an easy to use single interface from one machine. SparcEye vision inspection for pack top and bottom label verification can be added into the existing machine frames, without the need to increase footprint to provide full pack detection (X-Ray or MD), checkweighing, pack inspection (label, barcode, date code etc) from a single machine.

Interfood has also launched a new fail safe machine system to inspect and confirm that the correct product and label/sleeve, as well as date codes, are being produced, whilst simultaneously ensuring the products are checkweighed and detected for contaminants.

All of the machines are also offered with a live data collection software option. The systems are designed to identify specific times and reasons for downtime and continuously calculate line OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) to generate immediate line monitoring and performance control. In addition to this, they also provide safe storage of all QA (quality assurance) and production reports for audit and traceability purposes.

Rob Allen is Divisional Manager for Interfood’s Packing Solutions Division and comments – “product inspection has a vital role to play in the packaging process and the degree of automation in end-of-line packaging is undoubtedly increasing. One of the main drivers for this is reduced operational cost as machines have the capability to combine a number of different functions that could well involve several people if the operation was being done manually. There is also the precision and consistency that automation offers, as well as the potential to provide a more controlled environment – an important factor as food hygiene and traceability become ever more critical.

“One of the biggest challenges to our customers is protection of their brands through compliance with codes of practice and ensuring the highest product quality is maintained at all times. Sparc machines help to achieve this by providing fail safe systems for ensuring that all products are packed with the correct packaging and are accurately checkweighed and quality inspected before being despatched to store. X-Ray detection, together with our verification systems, provide an added level of security by ensuring each individual pack is inspected, detected and checked to make sure it complies with customer specifications at all times. All production and QA reports can be checked to give full traceability and confidence in the brand.”