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X-ray Inspection for Cans

tuna can picture

Strict quality control guidelines mean manufacturers in the food and beverage industry inspect their products for defects and contaminants. These manufacturers often utilize metal cans to provide for wider distribution and longer shelf life of their products. However, the material and density of cans create significant challenges during inspection. With Peco InspX, companies overcome these challenges using innovative X-ray inspection systems.

Current Inspection Systems

Some manufacturers use metal detectors to inspect for metal fragments in products, which are common contaminants. Metal detectors are ineffective if the container itself is made of metal or a metal composite – like cans. Standard metal detector technology cannot differentiate between the contaminant and the metal container even if this is just a metalized foil element.

Vision systems inspect empty cans during manufacturing. After the cans are produced, additional processing operations trim the top to a uniform height; a trimmed piece of metal debris could fall into the can and be lacquered into the can wall. Vision systems may not detect these defects. Vision systems also struggle to find small contaminants such as stones, glass, and bones when the contaminants lie in the narrowest dimension of the can.

Clear advantages of a more comprehensive X-ray inspection encourage many manufacturers to adopt the technology for cans. X-ray provides three important scans:

  1. Contaminant inspection
  2. Product/volume confirmation
  3. Package irregularities

Advantages of X-ray Inspection

X-ray inspection creates an image of each container from which the detection algorithms can distinguish between the contaminant and the package; so even metal fragments in metal cans are detectable. X-ray technology also identifies glass, rubber, dense plastic, stones, and bones. Multi-beam inspection systems further increase detection rates when inspecting the narrowest dimensions or for asymmetric foreign material.

Key to a successful X-ray can inspection is the software’s ability to differentiate between the predictable characteristics of the can (such as a seam, lid, pull ring) and the contaminants. Peco InspX system software considers the normal features of the can when creating detection algorithms – which decreases false reject rates.

Also, critical to can inspection are fill level and headspace. Metal cans are uniform in size, so fill level and headspace are mathematically linked. Advanced X-ray inspection software automatically calculates headspace from the container dimensions and associated fill level.

X-ray systems detect more than foreign contaminants: they reliably identify container defects such as —

  • Dents
  • Knocked down flanges
  • Double seams
  • Missing lids

Manufacturers using x-ray detection can then remove defective cans from production lines immediately upon identification, avoiding significant and costly downstream shutdowns or jamming. Peco InspX’s inspection software maintains a repository of inspection images and audit logs which includes verification that the can was properly ejected.

X-ray of Large Dents

X-ray of Large Dents

X-ray of Knocked down flanges

X-ray of Knocked Down Flanges

X-ray of Can with metal trim

X-ray of Can with Metal Trim

Peco InspX Solutions

Traditional methods of seamer sampling require stopping production to pull samples. Peco InspX’s automated seamer sampling optimizes uptime and eliminates disruptions. When a Peco InspX X-ray system is positioned immediately post-seamer, users may either sample as a pre-programmed task or on-demand (at full line speeds) – all without shutting down the production line.

Even at inspection speeds exceeding 1,000 cans per minute, Peco InspX systems reliably detect product issues and create high-resolution images.

An X-ray system must be adaptable, easy to use, powered by modern software, and supported by experts. Differentiating between the many X-ray system providers can be difficult. But when choosing, consider the X-ray inspection company that’s been delivering innovative solutions for 65 years: Peco InspX.

About Peco InspX

Peco InspX designs, builds, and supports advanced technology inspection solutions for the food and beverage industries. Operating from headquarters in Silicon Valley (San Carlos), CA, and founded in 1955, Peco InspX developed the first “no-touch” sensors for the can manufacturing and filling industry that long served as the standard for the industry. Over the past 50 years, Peco InspX extended its products to non-contact inspection including vacuum and pressure systems as well as X-ray imaging and related technologies. Peco InspX serves customers around the world and inspects over 1 billion food and beverage containers daily. The company specializes in accurate high-speed package inspection in machines that are easy-to-use with a low cost of ownership. More info at

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