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How to make a successful investment in X-ray technology

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety revised its inspection guidelines in 2015. As a result, around 22,000 BRC-certified processors and manufacturers need to update their processes to ensure their products remain compliant.

If you want your products stocked on the shelves of global retailers, it’s likely that you need to consider an investment in new technology. The most simple and cost-effective solution is an accurate, integrated combination checkweighers and X-ray system, specifically designed for food production.

The best systems don’t just deliver compliance with global standards, weight legislation and retailers’ codes of practice. They also provide consistent, exceptional quality and pinpoint accuracy.

But how do you know which system is best for business? And how do you ensure that you source a solution that works for end users and your technical team, and delivers overall cost benefits?

Six key issues for end users…

When making a decision, it’s crucial to consider the end users. After all, they’re the ones that will be using the machinery on a day-to-day basis. Obtain answers to these six questions to ensure you source a product that maximises productivity and minimises downtime.

1  Does the machine deliver real benefit?

It doesn’t matter how polished, slick or fast your checkweighers and X-ray system is. If it does not help you do your work, it doesn’t fulfil its purpose.

  • Compare specifications – But remember that specs aren’t always representative of performance.
  •  Compare results – Look at machines from different manufacturers, and let the results speak for themselves.

2  Is the machine intuitive to use?

For example, it should be obvious where components go or what will happen when you click a button or follow a link.

Think about your operations, your people and your working environment. Will the machine be too complex?

3  Is the machine in good working order?

You need to be on the look-out for bugs, defects, screen crashes or software hang-ups.

4  Are the machine’s controls responsive?

If they don’t react fast or give constant and simple feedback, your operators will get frustrated.

5  Is it easy to get the machine unstuck?

Good, accessible and searchable documentation are key to a quality product.

6  Does the machine have a consistent “look and feel”?

Simple and predicable user interface functions and processes are crucial.


  …five for your technical and engineering teams

And it isn’t just end users that you need to consider. If you’re responsible for supporting the equipment, some very different criteria apply.

1  Is the machine quick to deploy?

A fast and reliable installation is important.

2  Is the product enterprise ready?

It’s no good if the product doesn’t fit with your existing structure, doesn’t eliminate (or at least integrate) with standard systems and protocols, or doesn’t support your distributed enterprise set-up.

  • Will the product send and receive data from your existing and future enterprise wide network? For example, you need to find out whether it will reduce the “paper” reports and if it can “talk” to your system, or whether it’s restricted to an OEM’s own software system, which will leave you vulnerable to third party controlled enforced obsolescence.
  • Consider bundling technologies to share resources, floor space and time while simultaneously reducing operator induced risk – Integrating label inspection and auto-coding into your combination X-ray inspection equipment makes sense from an operational, technical and financial perspective.

3  Is the machine simple to support?

Troubleshooting is a crucial consideration. If something goes wrong, it needs to be easy to find out what it is and get it fixed. And if you have to look at log files, they should be easy to search and understand.

4  Is the product simple and easy to set-up, use and configure?

Setting up the product so it meets the users’ particular needs should not require a degree in troubleshooting. What’s more, it should not give you unnecessary choices. Put simply, it should just make the product work really well with well-chosen defaults.

5  Are there any security issues?

You really don’t want to know what the guys over in IT think of people that introduce products that put the business at risk!

And finally, two for operations

1  How resource-heavy is the machine?

Products that need more than their fair share of scarce engineering or technical resources are expensive to run and deploy.

2  What’s the cost of ownership?

Initial capital cost is usually seen as the principal comparator during the purchase decision, with the cost of owning and operating the equipment often being overlooked.

When making your selection you should always compare operating costs, service costs and the cost of spares – You may well be shocked by the operating cost difference between suppliers.

Sparc strikes the perfect balance between time, cost, quality and risk, delivering innovative systems that increase productivity and minimise downtime.

Get in touch on 01684 310 000 or to learn more about our world-class systems.

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