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Active Infrared Thermography for Seal Contamination Detection in Heat-Sealed Food Packaging

KU Leuven Department of Biosystems, MeBioS, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium
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Academic Editors: Carosena Meola and Gonzalo Pajares Martinsanz
J. Imaging 2016, 2(4), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging2040033
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Infrared Imaging)
Packaging protects food products from environmental influences, assuring quality and safety throughout shelf life if properly performed. Packaging quality depends on the quality of the packaging material and of the closure or seal. A common problem possibly jeopardizing seal quality is the presence of seal contamination, which can cause a decreased seal strength, an increased packaging failure risk and leak formation. Therefore, early detection and removal of seal contaminated packages from the production chain is crucial. In this work, a pulsed-type active thermography method using the heated seal bars as an excitation source was studied for detecting seal contamination. Thermal image sequences of contaminated seals were recorded shortly after sealing. The detection performances of six thermal image processing methods, based on a single frame, a fit of the cooling profiles, thermal signal reconstruction, pulsed phase thermography, principal component thermography and a matched filter, were compared. High resolution digital images served as a reference to quantify seal contamination, and processed thermal images were mapped to these references. The lowest detection limit (equivalent diameter 0.60 mm) was obtained for the method based on a fit of the cooling profiles. Moreover, the detection performance of this method did not depend strongly on the time after sealing at which recording of the thermal images was started, making it a robust and generally applicable method. View Full-Text
Keywords: active infrared thermography; pulsed thermography; matched filter; food packaging; quality inspection; seal contamination active infrared thermography; pulsed thermography; matched filter; food packaging; quality inspection; seal contamination
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MDPI and ACS Style

D’huys, K.; Saeys, W.; De Ketelaere, B. Active Infrared Thermography for Seal Contamination Detection in Heat-Sealed Food Packaging. J. Imaging 2016, 2, 33.

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