Scientists have developed radar-based detection systems to scan food for foreign material

According tomedia reports, no one likes to bite cookies or other food, found inside a piece of glass, wood or plastic. An experimental new system uses radar technology to prevent this from happening. Currently, many food production facilities perform X-ray inspections of finished products to check that metal objects, such as loose screws on production line machines, enter the product. Unfortunately, these X-rays often miss items made of plastic, wood or glass.

Scientists have developed radar-based detection systems to scan food for foreign material

The system, created by engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute of High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology in Germany, utilizes very high-frequency radio waves. These radio waves are emitted by a rotating “transmission antenna” located at the top of the conveyor belt, and food is transmitted on the conveyor belt. The “receiving antenna” located under the conveyor belt is detected after these waves pass through the food and conveyor belt.

By accurately analyzing the time of each wave received from one antenna to another, the system is able to determine the degree to which each food pair slows down. If the item contains only the ingredients it should contain, the delay falls within a predetermined range. However, a longer delay means that there are unwanted “extra ingredients” in it.

Scientists have developed radar-based detection systems to scan food for foreign material

SAMMI alerts workers to this situation, showing the location of foreign objects in radar images of food. Among them, so far, the device has been successfully used to detect glass fragments in the chocolate filling of sandwich cookies.

The current prototype is 40×40 × 30 cm and can be used to detect items up to 30×30×5 cm. In other words, it is conceivable that it can be made into any size and can even be used for prepackaged foods. However, the technology does not detect metals and must therefore be used in conjunction with X-ray inspection systems.

The company is already selling by-products of the system, which is designed to detect letters and small packages.