Supplying Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) or Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), such as food products, require a fast turnaround to ensure that highly perishable items reach the consumer as fresh as possible. During this process, food safety should be of the utmost importance, ensuring products reach the customer, free from unwanted objects such as bones, foreign objects, defects and contaminations can often be challenging. Adding a Digital Radiography solution to a production workflow allows for fast, in situ X-Ray imaging of products. This process can be added prior to goods entering the production workflow, such as purchased ingredients, or inline as part of the production process. Both methods are able to reduce the likelihood of unsafe objects or damaged goods reaching the consumer.

JME is a leading, UK based manufacturing company, specialising in the design and production of high quality inspection systems. With a focus on innovation, quality, service, and commitment to the NDT industry, JME’s reputation as a market leader has been unsurpassed in the past 30 years. As a company, JME thrives on customer satisfaction, which explains why the majority of our customers continue to use our services year upon year.

We offer on-site service and support for all of our products, coupled with a large spare-component warehouse to minimise down-time, you can be assured of a prompt and efficent service at all times. JME products are recognised around the world, in all serviced industries, as a premium brand. JME remains far ahead of our competition for reliability, innovation and customer care.


The JME Digital Food Radiography System (DFR) was produced for Birds Eye/Iglo Foods, one of the largest food manufacturers in the UK. The focus of the project was to manufacture a unit that could X-Ray batches of inbound goods for quality control purposes, prior to accepting shipments into the factory. In this instance, this process increased the quality of goods before entering the production process. In turn, this also greatly reduced manufacturing costs from early identification of product defects.

The JME DFR system is a bespoke NDT solution that can be engineered to fit in with your company’s current work flow. The machine uses Digital Radiography to generate a radiograph that allows an operator to detect foreign objects or defects in foodstuffs, including frozen fish, chicken and beef blocks.

Products loaded into the machine through its ‘safe-system’, are scanned to log the bar code and then X-rayed to detect any defects or foreign objects. The Radiograph is stored on a remote server alongside the bar code for easy identification. If no bar code is present, the DFR has the ability to manually input batch details through a touch-screen control interface. A simple menu system allows the user to save settings for different product types, reducing labour times when setting up the unit for frequently used product lines.

Mechanically the machine is of welded and bolted stainless-steel construction, containing single axis motorised linear positioning units for the digital imaging panel and X-Ray generating tube. A wheeled buggy running along guide rails transports the product in and out of the cabinet, providing linear positioning during the inspection process. The buggy system can be used with either an onboard drive unit, or a free running trolley with a fixed
drive unit and drive belt, with cabling to connect to the trolley. With these options, there should be no maintenance and replacement costs, other than those associated with similar systems.

In a normal food processing environment, the stainless-steel structure requires little maintenance other than regular sanitising and visual inspection for damage or potential safety risks.

The machine incorporates numerous safety features, including interlocks to prevent X-Ray operation in the event of a component failure; this includes any bulb failures on the X-Ray warning beacons.

A regular radiation safety inspection is recommended every 3 months, or following any maintenance and servicing of the machine.

X-Ray Process and Cost Saving

JME’s Digital Food Radiography (DFR) system has dramatically improved workflow within the production environment, reducing the amount of staff required to process the incoming blocks of frozen produce. Along with the huge cost saving with staffng, reducing the operational personnel to a single person, there has also been massive savings with decreasing the amount of food waste from having to dispose of entire batches.

Birdseye are using the DFR system to X-Ray five blocks from every batch-delivery of Chicken and Fish, and two from every batch of Beef.

The system is used to X-Ray 100 blocks per day, running for around 6 hours a day, 5 days per week – This equates to about 20 blocks per hour.

Previously, if a bone was found after a block was defrosted, the whole batch was rejected regardless as they are unable to use thawed meat.

Extra wastage prior to DFR system, meat could have been good however was discarded regardless as could not check without thawing meat.

60,250kg Chicken: Cost of £2500 per 1000kg = £150,625
4,000kg Beef: Cost of £1500 per 1000kg = £6,000
3,000kg Fish: Cost of £3000 Per 1000kg = £9,000

The DFR can be operated by one person, whereas the previous process would have required a team of up to 20 people thawing and checking batch blocks. So as well as a cost saving with wasted produce, there is also a significant saving in human resources.

Scanning for bone sizes in each produce type.
CHICKEN: If any bone is found above 32mm the whole batch is rejected.
Above 10mm and the whole batch is scanned.
BEEF: Any bones found, whole batch rejected.
FISH: 2 or more bones of any size found, whole batch rejected.
Any bone 2-4mm the whole batch is scanned.