FT System inspection systems with IR spectroscopy technology have improved detection of micro-holes and helped ensure correct product labeling, enhancing quality control and reducing waste

A micro-hole in packaging results in reduced product shelf life and has other negative impacts on quality. For example, micro-holes in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) can result in the formation of mold, color changes, and flavor alteration, which could trigger a product recall or withdrawal andresult in economic losses and damage to the brand’s reputation.

To combat these risks, the fresh pasta company Scoiattolo has implemented IR spectroscopy developed by Antares Vision Group with technology from FT System for in-line control of micro-holes. The machine also verifies that mandatory product information is correct on labels and barcodes, such as expiry date and lot code. An error in mandatory labeling data leads to a recall or the withdrawal of the goods from the market, affecting brand reputation, creating disposal costs, and even legal costs in the event of disputes.

Scoiattolo’s decision to choose AV Group — a technological partner of excellence in digitalization and innovation offering a complete ecosystem of technologies to guarantee product quality and end-to-end traceability along the supply chain through integrated data management — has proven to be wise: The company reduced instances of non-compliance due to micro-holes and incorrectly sealed packages by approximately 45 percent (September-December 2022 vs. September-December 2021).

“The adoption of this solution was evaluated within a larger project aimed at improving production flows”, explained Giacomo Tamborini, Innovation & EDP Manager of Scoiattolo. “We chose the FT System inspection solution after analyses, discussions with Antares Vision Group and the operational staff in our packaging department, and various tests carried out on sample productions. The system, with IR spectroscopy, has allowed us to achieve quick and complete identification of possible non-conformities in our pasta packages, a further guarantee of the quality of our processes”.

The real innovation, Tamborini said, was non-destructive inspection for micro-holes, which enables the same measurements to be repeated on all packages and has positive impact on sustainability. The technology replaces the destructive sampling methods traditionally used for quality control of MAP products, reducing the amount of packaging destined to become waste.

“We’ve realized a strong reduction of non-conformities deriving from holes and cracks”, Tamborini said. “As with any investment, we evaluated the return on investment during preliminary phases; after consideration, Scoiattolo decided to proceed with the introduction of the AV Group technology to further increase the quality of our production processes, which is an essential and central theme for us”.

Tamborini added that Scoiattolo had made clear improvements in its fight against waste. “Having precise statistics relating to waste and its related causes allows us to intervene in a timely manner, reducing the percentages within the packaging department”.