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X-Ray Detection Versus Metal Detection

We get this question a lot: “Does Peco InspX have an X-ray detector?

X-ray detector refers to the electronic device that captures the signal to turn that in to an electronic picture. But for people not affiliated with the industry, when they ask this question, they’re really thinking of a metal detector. Both X-ray and metal detector systems use X-rays to inspect what’s put through a machine. But they’re not the same thing. And X-ray detection has a clear advantage over metal detection.

X-ray machines produce images. Those images provide immense “reality checks” about a product. They give specific details about a product’s current state versus its intended state. They also store the images and data for later use.

A metal detector, on the other hand, doesn’t really provide objective evidence that anything was inspected. You put the product through; if it passes, no alarms go off; if there is an issue, alarms sound. It’s straightforward, but it doesn’t give you any insight into what’s causing the problems.

The other issue with metal detection in many environments is that the product itself is metal. So obviously, metal detection won’t work very well on other metal because it can’t differentiate between the product and the problem.

X-ray systems can look through any type of packaging to generate an image – metal, plastic, glass, etc. Any type of product can be X-rayed and just about any type of contaminant can be found. Plastic detection, in particular, is getting increasingly better, driven by better resolution in imaging equipment.

In addition, high-resolution X-ray systems use a very sophisticated type of detector that produces images 20-80 times richer than what you’re typically used to seeing in a typical X-ray inspection system.

All of this nets out to X-ray inspection being the real standard for how to inspect food, beverage, and pharmaceutical products today. It’s all driven by the ability to generate an image and really see what’s inside.


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