Food analysis and sorting

Food analytics and sorting by NIR
Food analysis and sorting by NIR

Strict guidelines and regulations in food industries result in a high demand for analytical control of raw materials and products. The analytical control is commonly provided by expensive and time-consuming laboratory-based methods. NIR-spectroscopy is a fast and cost-efficient alternative for many applications. Solids, powders, granulates, pastes and liquids can be analysed by NIR spectroscopy either after easy sampling or directly on a conveyor belt in a non-contact measurement.

Portable NIR-spectrometer are used for incoming goods inspection or for a quantitative rapid analysis of the nutrient composition in food. The imaging NIR process spectrometer uniSPEC1.7HSI and uniSPEC1.9MPL-24V allow a wider range of applications. Easy integration of the spectrometer components in industrial plants provides non-contact inline NIR measurements for control purposes. Fresh produces such as fruit, vegetables, meat and fish or convenience and bakery products can be controlled. Either the detection of foreign materials or identification of sub-standard goods by semi-quantitative analysis of nutrients is available.

Online product control of fresh products

Identification of green beans by uniSPEC1.7HSI
Identification of green beans by uniSPEC1.7HSI

Fruits, vegetables or seeds - any fresh products are easily distinguished from foreign materials such as wood, paper, plastics stones and insects by the imaging NIR camera uniSPEC1.7HSI. Contrary to commonly used RGB cameras, identical colouring of produce and foreign material does not affect the successful identification. NIR-identification is not based on colouring but on differences in chemical composition. Even leaves and stems can be distinguished from identically coloured fruits and vegetables.

The imaging NIR camera is able to detect particles starting from 2 mm diameter (standard NIR-objective). Especially designed objectives are available on request for enhanced spatial resolution of 0.5 mm. High spatial resolution and high frame rates ensure a process control even at conveor belt speed of up to 2 m/s. The identification routine is specially designed for each sorting task and will be adjusted depending on the customer’s specification.

Online analysis of nutrients: Fatty acids, carbohydrates and proteins

Determination of fat content in meat by uniSPECx.xHSI
Determination of fat content in meat by uniSPECx.xHSI

The hyperspectral NIR equipment uniSPEC1.7HSI is utilised for the semi-quantitative analysis of fat, carbohydrates and proteins in food. In addition, the water content can be determined. The equipment can be easily integrated in food (processing) plants, the measurement is contact-free, e.g. above the conveyor belt.

The online analysis of minced or grinded meat is one of numerous applications. The production of minced meat can be controlled by the determined amounts of fat and protein during the process. Amounts of fat, connective tissue and lean meat can be determined in pieces of meat. The included imaging software visualises the analysis results.

In addition, the uniSPEC1.7HSI is applicable for product control in the food industries. Baking or convenience products are classified as reject or product, depending on the amount of nutrients or water content. During inspection, exclusively the surface of the product is scanned, the inner part such as fillings etc are not detected. The analysis result can be visualised for each measurement spot. Object-related analysis results are available additionally for homogeneous products.

Example: NIR-identification of baking products

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Food analysis by NIR hyperspectral imaging camera uniSPEC1.7HSI