Leak detector reduces food waste

A new piece of technology, launched by Ishida Europe, has been designed to help food manufacturers in minimising spillage by detecting leaks in pre-packed retail products.

The seepage sensor, called AirScan, uses progressive laser technology to indicate leaks of C02 from holes as small as 0.5mm in sealed modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) packs. It has the ability to operate at speeds of up to 180 packs per minute.

Alan Mutch, Ishida Europe’s quality control manager, said: “With retailers and suppliers under pressure to minimise food waste, packaging leaks have been associated with almost 500,000 tonnes of food wasted in production each year.”

He highlighted that such a piece of technology has the potential to benefit a food processing company. “Compromised packaging can lead to bacterial spoilage, reduced shelf-life and a damaging rise in complaints and returns. This can result in increased cost of production, loss of brand image and reputation, and the heightened risk of retailer fines.”

Designed to be integrated with simplicity into already existing production lines, Ishida claims the AirScan provides fast and 100% reliable identification of C02 spillage. It has been created to be highly effective in busy moving production environments, ensuring a maximised packing time.

The technology upholds the optimum gas fill for each pack, allowing the detector to provide consistent product quality, all while recognising any problems in the production line and correcting them efficiently.

Food manufacturers can also benefit from the reduced amount of packaging that has to be thrown away, while the non-damaging testing process means products are able to be repacked.

“Initiatives such as the Courtland Commitment, aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the grocery sector, along with high-profile food recalls, mean that suppliers and retailers are giving increasing priority to driving out waste, reducing risk and optimising performance,” added Mutch.

“Investment in quality control equipment delivers quick commercial returns, not only by ensuring a high-quality product leaves the factory gate, but also in providing retailers with the added reassurance that they are sourcing from responsible suppliers that can deliver high levels of customer satisfaction.”

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