All inspection methods (visual, cameras, robots, or dye) have their place in the food and beverage industry. But none are as effective at detecting hidden and non-visual defects as Bioscan’s electronic inspection technology.

A case study

In October 2020, Bioscan was contacted by a client who believed they had potential cross-contamination issues arising from a spray dryer. The client had already performed several internal visual and dye penetrant inspections to try and identify possible defects but were unsuccessful.

After setting up Bioscan’s access equipment, our expert inspection technicians began to locate areas of potential concern. They quickly established that in the lower cone of the spray dryer, there were many defects. These were faults that could only be identified by Bioscan’s electronic inspection device; they would not have been detected by visual, camera, robot, or dye penetrant methods.

The images below show two of the areas where Bioscan’s technicians discovered there was a serious concern, as audio and visual feedback from the electronic inspection device were consistent. However, no defects were currently visible to the eye, only the product residues covering the surface.

Hidden and Non-Visual Defects

In total there were around 5m² of areas with potential defects, both in the spray dryer’s weld seams and the sheet metal itself. After discussing the situation with the client, Bioscan’s team then lightly polished these areas to reveal the extent of the damage. The images below show the extremely porous corrosion pitting and cracking, and the likely cause of the client’s cross-contamination issues.

Extremely Porous Corrosion Pitting and Cracking Detected

Below are some microscopic images of these areas, to show the client the product residues building up inside the defects during production cycles.

Microscopic Images of Non-Visual Defects

Due to the extent of the damage that the corrosion pitting and cracking had caused to the parent material of the stainless steel, these areas were unrepairable. But the client now had the knowledge of where the likely cause of the cross-contamination was coming from and could plan ahead for the corrective actions.

Without Bioscan’s expertise and electronic inspection technology offering the ability to locate these hidden, non-visual defects beneath the surface of the product residues, the client would have continued to run the risk of producing their food products in unsafe conditions.

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