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4 September, 2021 - 16:31 By Tony Quested

Sapphire a jewel with largest ever X-ray machine

X-ray inspection technology pioneer Sapphire Inspection Systems has announced a new deal with GA Pet Food Partners for its largest ever X-ray inspection machine. 

More than six metres long, the bespoke system will be capable of handling bags of pet food kibble weighing up to 25kg and measuring up to one metre in length lying flat – at a rate of 800 bags an hour.

The new machine will be the latest addition to the GA Pet Food Partners state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Leyland in Lancashire, which produces 80,000 tonnes of dry pet food each year.

The site is already home to eight other Sapphire innovations – including a G40 X-ray inspection and weight checking machine capable of handling upright bags of various sizes up to 4kg at a rate of 1,800 an hour.

“As one of the largest independent manufacturers of private label pet food in Europe, we handle 700 different recipes and 2,500 different pack formats – so it’s a challenge to find inspection equipment that can cope with that,” said GA Pet Food Partners managing director Andy Kettle. 

“Sapphire has the expertise to create bespoke solutions for us that fully integrate with our own systems to provide a high level of process control and, in turn, reassurance for our own customers about the quality of every bag of their products.”

As well as ensuring the pet food bags are free of contaminants such as fragments of metal, stone or glass, Sapphire’s new giant machine will also check the weight of each bag to make sure they all contain exactly the right amount of kibble. 

And all the X-ray images produced during the inspection process will be stored on the pet food manufacturer’s server. Along with the time stamp on each bag, this allows easy identification of a specific item if there are any customer issues after the product has gone on sale.

Sapphire founder Richard Parmee said: “Our broad range of more than 40 X-ray inspection machines can cope with the challenges posed by the vast majority of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics production lines. 

“But it was clear from the start that the latest innovative request from GA Pet Food Partners was going to need our unique bespoke approach to create our largest ever machine that can seamlessly integrate into the factory’s existing systems to ensure every product is of the same high standard.”

• Sapphire, based near Royston, will be demonstrating its X-ray technology at the Petfood Forum 2021 on 22-24 September at the Kansas City Convention Center in the US – at its partner Scan American Corporation’s booth 1326.

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