The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people shop for fresh produce. Fruit and vegetables have seen a significant shift to being pre-packaged, and in response growers and fresh produce companies are pursuing strategic partnerships to innovate their packaging and inspection processes and ensure quality and safety. Vegetables Australia takes a look at some of the innovative inspection technologies that are available today.

Having a metal detector, checkweigher and sometimes even an x-ray machine at the end of the production line allows growers and fresh produce companies to easily comply with global safety standards and meet the demands of quality and safety conscious retailers and consumers.

As an Australian-based, global manufacturer of food processing equipment, Heat and Control understand the importance of choosing the right inspection equipment for fresh produce, retail, food service and ready-meal operations.

Metal detection

This part of the inspection process can occur at several points in the line and its primary purpose is to detect for metal contamination. Choosing the right metal detector is important and should be based on the type of produce you intend to run.

While metal detection in food processing is primarily about quality control and consumer protection, it also protects other machinery in the production line because even the smallest metal particle can lead to machinery malfunction, resulting in revenue decrease as a result of production downtime.

Weight control

The primary function of a checkweigher is to monitor end weight of a packaged product. It is key for delivering what consumers expect by providing accurate verification of the weight of the package, and counting and detecting missing components. Technology used in association with checkweighing allows for the collection and retention of important production run data and creates a database of information.

Digital sorting

Digital sorting systems consistently identify and remove objects based on colour, structure, shape, and size at a significantly faster rate than manual inspection. They find contaminants such as sticks, stems, stones and even mice and are also used to sort by size and shape and grade by discolouration.

A wide range of systems are available for specific applications, including colour sorters and smart laser sorters.

Seal checking

Choosing the right leak detection equipment is an important part of the inspection process and different methods are available.

For larger scale operations, an in-line pressure testing unit classified as a ‘gross leak detector’ can be used and works by testing for air in the package. This type of technology requires air in the package, but there is equipment available that detects leaks by creating a vacuum and then testing for air escaping from the package that way.

Heat and Control can innovate your fresh produce inspection process. Readers can get in touch using the contact information below.

About Heat and Control

Established in 1950, Heat and Control is a privately-owned company with a global team that has built an extensive knowledge bank and developed a wealth of experience and expertise. The company provides access to production and technical support from a network of engineers, food technicians, field service technicians and skilled tradespeople. Support teams provide food manufacturers with confidence to achieve production goals.

It has 10 manufacturing facilities, 11 test centres and more than 30 offices globally. Services include testing, design, engineering, manufacturing, installation commissioning, user training, spare parts, and provision of after sales service.

Find out more

Please email info@heatandcontrol.com or visit the Heat and Control website.

Cover image: The primary function of a checkweigher is to monitor end weight of a packaged product.