12 May 2015 Detection of seal contamination in heat-sealed food packaging based on active infrared thermography
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Abstract
In the food industry packaging is often applied to protect the product from the environment, assuring quality and safety throughout shelf life if properly performed. Packaging quality depends on the material used and the closure (seal). The material is selected based on the specific needs of the food product to be wrapped. However, proper closure of the package is often harder to achieve. One problem possibly jeopardizing seal quality is the presence of food particles between the seal. Seal contamination can cause a decreased seal strength and thus an increased packaging failure risk. It can also trigger the formation of microchannels through which air and microorganisms can enter and spoil the enclosed food. Therefore, early detection and removal of seal-contaminated packages from the production chain is essential. In this work, a pulsed-type active thermography method using the heat of the sealing bars as an excitation source was studied for detecting seal contamination. The cooling profile of contaminated seals was recorded. The detection performance of four processing methods (based on a single frame, a fit of the cooling profile, pulsed phase thermography and a matched filter) was compared. High resolution digital images served as a reference to quantify contamination. The lowest detection limit (equivalent diameter of 0.63 mm) and the lowest processing time (0.42 s per sample) were obtained for the method based on a single frame. Presumably, practical limitations in the recording stage prevented the added value of active thermography to be fully reflected in this application.
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Karlien D'huys, Wouter Saeys, Bart De Ketelaere, "Detection of seal contamination in heat-sealed food packaging based on active infrared thermography", Proc. SPIE 9485, Thermosense: Thermal Infrared Applications XXXVII, 94851G (12 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2176559; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2176559
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