APPLIED Sorting Technologies , the Melbourne based manufacturer of x-ray food inspection equipment, is reporting brisk sales this year with five machines presently under construction for delivery to food processors across Australia.
As well as having four standard x-ray machine models to choose from Applied Sorting custom build machines to suit individual customer's requirements.
Peter Hawkins, one of the founders of Applied Sorting, said one of the benefits of designing and building equipment in Australia was the ability to be flexible.
"If a customer prefers a particular brand of motor or control equipment, we can build that in. If they need a particular length or height of machine to fit into their available space we can usually do it.
“Often customers want some special kind of deflection system and possibly proof of rejection. We can accommodate all of those variations."
The Applied Sorting engineering team's experience with x-ray inspection dates back to the early 1980s when it was commissioned to develop and build diamond recovery machines, using x-ray fluorescence, for the Argyle diamond mine.
The successes of these machines led to their being commissioned in 1994 to develop high-speed x-ray detection systems for inspecting 27kg cartons of meat for the export trade.
"Having to design equipment that used sophisticated sensing systems and data processing technology and that could also function reliably in harsh Australian mining environments was great experience for building the meat machines,” Mr Hawkins said.
“Most export abattoirs are remote and for equipment to work it has to be tough, easy to use and easy to maintain. Those are the features we try to build into every one of our x-ray inspection systems."
Applied Sorting x-ray systems can be found in most of the major beef export abattoirs across Australia. The company is working presently with Meat and Livestock Australia and a leading beef exporter to develop a new generation of machines capable of finding even smaller pieces of contaminants, such as bone fragments, than existing state-of-the-art machines.
As well as inspecting meat, Applied Sorting has also built machines in Australia for inspecting products in glass jars like simmer sauces and spreads, machines for inspecting export cartons of cheese and a whole range of packaged and loose food products from dairy to confectionery.
Many of the company’s customers had their first experiences with x-ray inspection by using the company's food inspection service to screen products they suspected of containing contaminants or having missing or damaged ingredients. This led to purchasing their own equipment from Applied Sorting.