A Real-Time Approach To Detect Seal Defects in Food Packages Using Ultrasonic Imaging

Authors: Shah, Neil N.1; Rooney, Paul K.2; Ozguler, Ayhan3; Morris, Scott A.4; O'Brien, William D.2

Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Number 9, September 2001, pp. 1279-1445 , pp. 1392-1398(7)

Publisher: International Association for Food Protection

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Abstract:

The microbial integrity of many types of flexible food packages depends on a zero defect level in the fused seam seal. Human inspection for defects in these seals is marginal at best, and secondary incubation protocols are often used to spot packages with compromised integrity before releasing product for sale. A new type of inspection method has been developed and is being evaluated for robustness. The purpose of the study was to evaluate a new raster scanning geometry to simulate continuous motion, online ultrasonic inspection of the seal region in flexible food package seals. A principal engineering tradeoff of scanning inspection systems is between increased line speed that results from decreased spatial sampling (less acquired data to process) and decreased image quality. The previously developed pulse-echo Backscattered Amplitude Integral (BAI) mode imaging technique is used to form ultrasound images using the new scanning geometry. At an ultrasonic frequency of 22.9 MHz, 38- and 50- m-diameter air-filled channel defects in all-plastic transparent trilaminate are evaluated. The contrastto-noise ratio (CNR) of the processed BAI-mode image is used to quantify image quality as a function of spatial sampling. Results show seal defects (38- and 50-μm diameter) are still detectable for undersampled conditions, although image quality degrades as spatial sampling decreases. Further, it is concluded that the raster scanning geometry is feasible for online inspection.

Keywords:

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Bioacoustics Research Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, 405 North Mathews, Urbana, Illinois 61801 2: Bioacoustics Research Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, 405 North Mathews, Urbana, Illinois 61801 3: Departments of Food Science & Human Nutrition and Agricultural Engineering, University of Illinois, 1304 West Pennsylvania, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA 4: Departments of Food Science & Human Nutrition and Agricultural Engineering, University of Illinois, 1304 West Pennsylvania, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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