A selection of our most frequently asked questions in all areas of our service.
If you have a specific query that is not answered here please do get in touch, or find out more in ‘Why Choose Us‘.
As a general statement we can detect anything which has a reasonable absorption differential to the product in which it is surrounded. Typically the contaminants are objects such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals, glass, stone, bone, shell and certain higher density plastics and rubber compounds.
The size detectable is influenced by the thickness of the product we are inspecting and the homogeneity of that product. For instance if we were inspecting a sachet of milk powder we could detect a stainless steel wire of 0.2mm yet if it were a pack of breakfast cereal then the detectable wire size may increase to 0.8mm.
For more detailed information see “How do X-ray Systems work?”.
Our comprehensive range of x-ray inspection systems is configurable and customisable to undertake inspection of a variety of different products from the consumer and industrial sectors. Previous product inspection projects have included quality inspection of computer peripherals and electronic personal care products, and we are often asked to check the safety standard of toys and novelty goods imported from the Far East.
Please contact us to enquire about your product.
We will always give you a clear and honest appraisal of what is achievable and be prepared to demonstrate this to you at any time.
Our x-ray inspection equipment is suitable for a broad range of food and pharmaceutical packaging types and materials, including cans, glass packaging, foil and composite packaging and even cases of products. The x-ray systems at AIS can be customised to inspect an unlimited list of cartons, boxes, bottles, tubes, sachets and packaging types manufactured using metal.
We can also quickly inspect toys and electrical products within their packaging for missing components or damaged items, as we have the ability to ‘look inside’ without unpacking or disassembling the goods.
We have many years’ experience in providing this specialist service and over 95% of our business is repeat business from long term clients. AIS has the most advanced equipment range available, it ranges from conventional metal detectors through to high and ultra-high resolution x-ray linescans on to sensitive medical imaging systems.
We will always give you a clear and honest appraisal of what is achievable and be prepared to demonstrate that to you at any time.
You may also like to read the White Paper: Five Steps to Optimum Product Inspection.
X-ray inspection which delivers a dose of less than 0.5 Gy to food products is permitted under EU Directive 1999/2/EC.
The dose received by a product passing through an x-ray system is extremely low, typically for an x-ray linescan system it is less than 0.2 milli-Gy.
For more detailed information please visit this European Food Information Council article, see “How safe is X-ray Inspection?” or read the White Paper: How Safe is X-Ray Inspection of Food?
Unfortunately not, but we do offer an effective solution as we regularly inspect this type of product.
We have multiple hook up points and a large secure yard which can accommodate 8 to 10 refrigerated trailers. We work directly from the trailers, as each pallet is removed it is temperature monitored throughout the inspection process and then immediately returned to the trailer (or a spare trailer which is then replaced on the next load). This has been found to be the most efficient method and a full trailer can usually be inspected and turned round in a few hours.
The inspection time is dependent on the target defect or contaminant, the pack size, if it can be inspected in a case or has to be stripped from the case, re-shrunk wrapped etc. As a guide a pallet can be as quick as 5 minutes or as long as two hours.
The charging structure for AIS’ x-ray inspection service is based on the product inspection time plus any additional services such as shrink wrapping or relabelling. Pricing is then converted into a unit or case price so you know exactly what the cost of the inspection will be.
We are confident that you will find our service fast, efficient and cost effective, even for relatively low value products. Read more about our specialist service and expertise.
Yes we can. If you would like to trial our x-ray inspection service please complete the form here.
Your enquiry will be treated as 100% confidential and we will always give an honest appraisal of what is achievable.
Yes it is. You can hire our customisable x-ray inspection systems and metal detectors on flexible contract periods, usually for an immediate or short term requirement.
Find out more about X-Ray Equipment Hire.
AIS will assist in meeting health & safety regulatory requirements to enable your users to operate the hire equipment.
Ultra-high resolution sensors cannot match the high speeds used on modern production lines.
The AIS X-Ray Micron Scan is designed to operate off-line and be operated by AIS’ expert staff to achieve its optimum accuracy.
The AIS X-Ray Ultra Scan can be deployed at near-line and off-line locations.
All systems consist of a conveyor cabinet and x-ray generator plus high powered PC and software for x-ray detection and image processing.
To take full advantage of the higher resolution, the image processing hardware and software must be able to handle the data rate that the detectors produce. The hardware and software within the Micron Scan and Ultra Scan are optimised to handle these high data rates.
The main differentiator is the resolution achieved with the use of advanced linear sensors:
Standard x-ray inspection equipment for the food industry typically records 140,000 data points in a 15 x 15cm product.
AIS X-Ray Micron Scan achieves a resolution of 9,000,000 data points in the same sample. This additional resolution ensures detection of incredibly small foreign bodies and is much less sensitive to the orientation and location of the contaminant within the product.
AIS X-Ray Ultra Scan offers a resolution of 600,000 data points in the same sample of 15 x 15cm.
Yes we do, in fact we were the first specialist x-ray recovery provider in Europe to obtain the approval to operate a Quality Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001.
Read more about how AIS can help you achieve the governmental and retailer requirements of contamination and recall incidents.
HACCP is a way of managing food safety hazards. Food safety management procedures should be based on HACCP principles … what could go wrong and what risks there are to food safety” Food Standards Agency
HACCP is a food safety management system designed to prevent contamination during food production processes, rather than a finished product inspection procedure.
AIS can provide quality and safety assurance when a Critical Control Point has failed; we offer the highest level of inspection and contamination detection performance available and are certified to operate a Quality Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001.
Find out how AIS can help you achieve the governmental and retailer requirements of contamination and recall incidents.
Threat Assessment and Critical Control Point (TACCP) helps food producers identify weak points in their supply chain and processing activities that may be vulnerable to fraud. It then helps the business minimise the chances of such an attack.” Campden BRI
If your business is the unfortunate victim of a threat or attack, AIS is equipped to assist you with product recovery and safety testing. In the event of an incident (subject to it being a foreign body we can detect) we will be able to quickly and confidentially confirm whether your product is safe to go back into the distribution chain.
Read more in the TACCP guide, sponsored by Defra and the FSA: PAS 96:2017 (Guide to protecting and defending food and drink from deliberate attack)
We try to help the environment where possible by using a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity supplier, all packaging material removed during inspection is sent to be recycled and only contaminated or faulty goods are destroyed.
To find out more please see Why Choose AIS?
We do not supply transport as we cannot match the rates and logistic resources of our clients.
We have done, but generally we find it more efficient and manageable to extend the working day and bring into operation some of the additional equipment we always have available.
Yes, we have our standard bi-lateral non-disclosure agreement and will consider any reasonable confidentiality agreement from a customer.
Read more about our confidential service.
Yes, these are our “Standard Operating Procedures”. We will however modify and add to our SOPs to meet the individual requirements of your specific product.
Absolutely, we are regularly audited by most of our customers and their clients.
You are more than welcome to be present, from the first day of the inspection process until the last.
If you wish to meet the team or visit our premises, please get in touch and we will be happy to arrange this for you.
We aim to answer all your questions efficiently and succinctly without bombarding you with technical jargon. If, however, you wish to have a full technical briefing on the inspection equipment and techniques employed we are more than happy to provide this.