CAMBRIDGESHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM — Sapphire Inspection Systems announced Sept. 1 it has partnered with GA Pet Food Partners to offer the pet food manufacturer its “largest-ever” x-ray inspection system, capable of handling up to 800 pet food bags weighing up to 25 kg (roughly 55 lbs) per hour.

The G40 XL system, which is more than six meters (19.7 ft) long, will be installed at GA Pet Food Partners’ state-of-the-art manufacturing site in Leyland, England, which produces more than 80,000 metric tons of dry pet food annually. The system is scheduled to be completed later this year, according to Sapphire.

"As one of the largest independent manufacturers of private label pet food in Europe, we handle 700 different recipes and 2,500 different pack formats – so it's a challenge to find inspection equipment that can cope with that," said Andy Kettle, managing director at GA Pet Food Partners. "Sapphire has the expertise to create bespoke solutions for us that fully integrate with our own systems to provide a high level of process control and, in turn, reassurance for our own customers about the quality of every bag of their products."

The machine, described by Sapphire as “giant,” will help GA Pet Food Partners ensure products are free from foreign material contaminants — such as metal, stone and glass fragments — as well as acting as a checkweigher to ensure kibble volume consistency from bag to bag.

The system will produce x-ray images throughout the inspection process that will be stored directly on GA Pet Food Partners’ server. A time stamp on each bag, along with the image database, will help the manufacturer address any customer issues that might come up after product is shipped and sold.

"Our broad range of more than 40 X-ray inspection machines can cope with the challenges posed by the vast majority of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics production lines,” said Richard Parmee, founder of Sapphire Inspection Systems. “But it was clear from the start that the latest innovative request from GA Pet Food Partners was going to need our unique bespoke approach to create our largest ever machine that can seamlessly integrate into the factory's existing systems to ensure every product is of the same high standard."

GA Pet Food Partners already owns eight other machines by Sapphire Inspection Systems, including a G40 x-ray inspection system and checkweigher with a throughput of 1,800 upright, 4-kg (8.8-lb) bags per hour.

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