CASE STUDY: CASSEL Inspection Customized X-ray Inspection Systems for Plastic Food Tray Seal Integrity

April 24, 2023

“Our team created a deep research and development plan to design an appropriate solution to identify leaks caused by plastic tray food spillage. This groundwork, in addition to our history of creating custom inspection solutions like the innovative X-RAY SHARK with product conformity inspection capabilities, will ensure our customer receives the highest level of product quality.”

- Cord Cassel, managing director of CASSEL Inspection

XRAY SHARK_XD38  (1)CASSEL Inspection was awarded a project to manufacture four custom X-RAY SHARK XD38 inspection systems for an Australian-based convenience food company to ensure tray seal integrity and foreign body detection in ready-made meals using plastic trays sealed with clear plastic film. The custom solution identifies where food is spilled on areas of the tray that compromise seal integrity. Additionally, the X-ray system identifies physical contaminants within the food.

The project was the first for CASSEL in Australia and has provided references to gain a foothold in the market to provide customized X-ray inspection equipment.

The Need for X-ray Inspection Systems in Convenience Food Packaging

Sealed trays are among the most important packaging for ready-made meals, and food industry manufacturers have to confirm the integrity of the packaging. Inspection of the trays presents challenges, as food spillage during the filling process can compromise seal integrity. International food safety standards recommend that every container used in the food manufacturing and packaging process must be inspected for quality, including the presence of physical contaminants and leaks.

For CASSEL’s Australian-based convenience food customer, the main objectives of the custom X-ray system project included:

  • Detection of foreign objects and spilled food residues in the tray sealing area
  • Local (in Australia) technical support that responds competently and quickly

Maintaining Plastic Food Tray Seal Integrity with Customized X-ray Inspection Solutions

Plastic Food Tray Seal IntegrityCASSEL was the only X-ray supplier among the competitors that was able to offer a tray seal inspection. Competitors offered the standard X-ray function of “foreign body detection.” During initial discussions with the customer, CASSEL’s research and development team collaborated with the customer to fully understand the requirements.

The CASSEL team then developed a special software algorithm for inspecting tray seals. A shell seal inspection algorithm was run on a demo machine, and recognition tests were performed. The test results and images were summarized in a report and shown to the customer. The test results satisfied the customer, and soon after, CASSEL was awarded the order.

The process incorporated a seven-step approach:

  1. Fully understand the customer’s requirements and analyze photo documentation of samples with spilled food residues in the tray sealing area.

  2. Prepare product samples similar in size and properties to the customer’s product.

  3. Recreate production simulation with a demo X-ray machine in Cassel's laboratory. X-ray images were captured and analyzed.

  4. Take sample images to a software workbench and run them through various mathematical image inspection algorithms. The sequence was optimized for these existing inspection algorithms. Gaps in the existing algorithms were identified and closed by developing a specific new algorithm.

  5. Test the sequence of existing and new algorithms, facilitated by running the sample images through them. The setup was then refined until the algorithms automatically categorized the images correctly.

  6. Transfer the known algorithms and settings into a new filter function block in the standard CASSEL X-ray software.

  7. Complete documentation for the customer and local tech support for direction on the appropriate settings and calibrations.

CASSEL Inspection X-ray machines are modular to fit in a production environment, are configured with algorithms specifically tailored to customer products or needs.

“Dedicated imaging evaluation algorithms and advanced imaging techniques allow our CASSEL Inspection team to identify deformed trays, spilled food inclusions in the seal, fill-level non-conformities, and foreign particles,” said Cord Cassel. “After an evaluation of the processing requirements and specific characteristics of the packaging type, we designed and manufactured an in-line X-ray machine tailored for our customer, which features the most customized, unique, and advanced inspection technologies available today.”

In addition to CASSEL providing customized X-ray system solutions, local distributor OFI of Melbourne provides expert customer support before and after the sale. OFI provides continuous dedicated service support throughout the lifespan of the equipment.

Why should food safety be on top of your brand's priority list? We explain more about the impact of food contamination on brands here.

What Makes CASSEL Inspection a Capable Partner for Customized X-ray System Solutions?

CASSEL’s extensive experience with custom solutions has resulted in a solution ecosystem, where the foundation of 80 percent of existing solutions can be repurposed with the addition of 20 percent new design and functionality.

CASSEL’s tray seal inspection algorithm is not exclusive to one customer. Now with another block of detection algorithms in the software library, the team has built on resources to advance future customized solutions.

The CASSEL team’s agile spirit and joy for developing and implementing exciting technical solutions keep innovation at the forefront of each project.

Refer to our latest resource to see how CASSEL Inspection supports the food and beverage industry.

Contact our expert team today to learn more about the resources and equipment that can support your food safety compliance.

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Case Study: Plastic Food Tray Seal Integrity