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Finding Glass Shards in Glass Products

The Importance of Glass Product Inspection

X-ray inspection machines are capable of finding nearly any foreign contaminant in a product, such as pieces of glass, metal, stone, plastic, or bone. But a particular challenge with inspection is when the contaminant is the same type or density as the container itself.

A likely example: glass shards inside of glass containers – which are the most common contaminants inside of glass products.

Dangerous glass shards can be accidentally introduced to containers during operations. Broken glass in food or beverage products can harm customers and reputations, as well as cost a great deal of time and money.

But advanced X-ray inspection machines can find glass fragments within glass containers.

What this adds up to is peace of mind, knowing that all the products are safe.


Glass Shards in Glass Products

During manufacturing, the glass containers can incur a host of defects that are serious food safety risks – including material cracks, chips, and loose glass inside the container.

Even if your glass production process is very good, the filling process makes contact with the top and side of the bottle, which can chip the bottle. When that happens, small glass shards can enter.

Capping machines can also break off the top of containers. And during operation product handling, contaminants from neighboring bottles can land in other open jars. Because of this risk, every glass container should be inspected.

Challenges of Inspecting Glass

While glass has a host of consumer benefits, it also poses some real challenges in manufacturing and inspection operations. Glass containers vary widely in container dimensions because each mold used in the manufacturing process is unique. There are considerable mold-to-mold variations in the finished container so it’s difficult to have a “one size fits all” inspection technique. The variation makes it tougher to find contaminants.

Detecting small contaminants in glass containers that are the same density as the container also requires significantly more inspection sensitivity than other applications. Finding a glass shard inside a glass bottle is challenging because the density and imaging are so similar.

In addition, glass shards are asymmetric objects – one dimension of the shard is often very small or narrow.

Finding Glass Shards with X-ray Inspection

The fact that X-ray inspection can find glass within a glass container may be surprising – but it’s actually routine. Finding these glass fragments is possible because:

  • Glass has sufficient density that the added thickness in the image is material enough to be seen
  • The specific gravity of the glass particles differs materially from that of food or beverage products, which have a specific gravity close to 1.

However, reliably detecting these types of contaminants requires more sophisticated multi-beam imaging systems.

Multi-Beam Technology

Asymmetric glass shards are best detected using a multiple beam X-ray system. The glass container walls usually have a thin dimension, while the lengthwise dimension is slightly larger. This means that single-beam X-rays may not be able to detect a shard from every direction.

Multi-beam systems use various imaging geometries – inspecting from multiple angles at once – which greatly increases the probability of finding asymmetric components.

These systems are also successfully inspect through and around punts (or “push-ups”) on the bottom of the container. The extra glass forming the push-up reduces imaging because it’s thicker than the rest of the glass walls. Multiple beams are needed to address this.


Peco InspX Machines

Peco InspX has designed some of the highest performing X-ray inspection machines to ensure the safety of customers, products, and businesses. They use innovative technology and imaging analysis software. Each machine can detect if any component is behaving inappropriately and can report this information back to the Peco InspX engineers. These engineers are constantly monitoring the machines remotely, and over 90% of the time can diagnose and repair without ever having to make an in-person maintenance call.

Peco InspX offers multi-beam system options, including:

  • Shield Trio: Advanced Triple Side-View technology designed to inspect glass containers for glass and metal fragments. This machines mounts over the customer conveyor system.
  • Shield Glissando: Advanced Dual Side-View technology that inspects glass containers for glass fragments. It utilizes a unique “see-through” conveying system for high-resolution inspection.


To learn more about our innovative company, please visit our website, LinkedIn, or YouTube channel. We look forward to working with you!

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