Photonics technologies for agriculture from Hamamatsu
1 Aug 2023
Professionals in the agriculture and food packaging industries know exactly how important it is to analyse, monitor and inspect food products in the packaging process.
These companies face significant challenges such as agricultural products contaminated with stones or other debris, broken or unsealed packages, mislabelled products, and spoiled produce. Fortunately, Hamamatsu Photonics offers many solutions that address this using today’s technologies including SWIR, InGaAs and CCD/CMOS.
Cameras and sensors are integrated within devices designed for improving inspection, sorting and quality. These systems can identify issues in food products and packaging before they are shipped out. Vision inspection can prevent unsafe, low-quality food from reaching shelves and save businesses costs on returned defective packages.
Moisture content can greatly affect the quality and shelf life of agricultural products. The slight trace of additional moisture can indicate the start of mold. A bruise indicates that oxygen has penetrated the skin or peel and gotten into the fruit. Bruised fruit or vegetables will have brown spots and/or eventually turn completely brown. While most are safe to eat, bruised fruit is not aesthetically appealing or can be over-ripe.
For example, when apples travel down the conveyor belt, they are scanned using Hamamatsu’s InGaAs and CMOS cameras. The InGaAs camera will show defects beginning to form under the skin that a human eye cannot see.
The CMOS camera will show visible defects. To optimize the food sorting inspection process, different high-speed imaging devices should be placed at strategic locations on the conveyor belt. These sensors will automatically scan produce, detecting visible and invisible defects on produce that should be filtered out, so they do not reach the store.