Optimal product inspection of ready meals for quality assurance

There is a huge demand for ready meals in Germany: around 45 kilograms of frozen products alone are consumed per head every year. There cannot be any slip-ups during product inspection in such a high-turnover market. If foreign bodies in ready meals are not detected, a food recall becomes necessary., According to a study conducted by Allianz Group in 2017, recalls cost on average 8 million euros. There are 2,500 food recalls in the EU every year. Use our innovative inspection solutions to protect yourself against this risk!

Using our inspection systems in your production line

Our free webinar demonstrates quality assurance of ready meals using product inspection. It further illustrates the potential uses and economic advantages of high-performance checkweighers and X-ray scanners. Our experts deliver this 30-minute webinar in English.

Inspection Solutions in Ready Meal Production


Joachim Ott, Business Development Manager Product Inspection

Sascha Wenz, Product Manager Checkweighers

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E-paper: Different ways of using our inspection systems in ready meal production

Our e-paper “Maximum safety in ready meal production”, illustrates the options our checkweighers, X-ray scanners, and vision inspection provide for the product inspection of your ready meals. It helps identify critical control points (CCP) and indicates the perfect solution for your production line to enable you to achieve complete safety in an efficient manner.

As product shapes are crucial, our experts consider the most popular types of packaging for ready meals: trays, pouches and boxes. There are specific applications, such as foreign body detection, level and completeness checks for the quality assurance of your ready meals for various types of products.


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TQS: The many benefits of modularity

Are you looking for a compact system perfectly tailored to your production needs? We recommend that you consider a fully modular solution. Our flexible Traceable Quality System TQS opens up new possibilities. A combination of checkweigher and metal detector is ideal for end-of-line inspection of ready meals and other food products. The video clearly demonstrates the application using the widely used thermoformed packs.

By adding a labeler with a printer and camera module, you will be able to label packages and check the marking immediately. Any label that does not pass this inspection is automatically rejected. This is the great advantage of TQS - all modules work together seamlessly, making teach-in obsolete. The system is controlled via a user-friendly display and the operator is always in control. A perfectly coordinated system.

Safe marking of ready meals

A label may contain several markings. When it comes to ready meals and perishable goods in general, information on the best-before date (including the freezing date if applicable) is particularly important. In addition with the list of ingredients, nutritional value tables and information on the net quantity this adds up to a lot of text on a single product.

Manufacturers therefore use codes to combine different types of data. Innovative 2D codes are particularly helpful here. Batch coding also allows you to effectively track your supply chain. No matter in which supermarket your ready meals ultimately arrive, you can identify them by lot at any time and thus facilitate recalls. Adding a serial number will even allow you to track products on the individual item level. All this is possible with the right module:

Marking with TQS

Member of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group

Consumer confidence is a crucial factor in ready meals. There are strict standards for food safety designed to maintain this confidence. These include the EU Packaging Directive, the HACCP concept (risk analysis and critical control points), the IFS (International Food Standard), the BRC (Global Standard for Food Safety of the British Retail Consortium), the FDA, the German Food Hygiene Regulations and others.

As a member of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG), we are especially committed and experienced when it comes to the production and packaging of food. We are happy to advise you on all matters regarding applicable standards in the food industry and product inspection for quality assurance of ready meals.

We specialise in product inspection of ready meals; checkweighing, foreign body detection, completeness and level checking, etc. We provide all solutions from a single source putting you on the safe side when it comes to consumer protection, packaging directives, checking standards, environmental protection, and increased efficiency. Not to mention protecting your good reputation.

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Challenges faced in product inspection of ready meals

  • From harvesting to production and distribution of their products, you are faced with huge challenges. Throughout the complete production chain, there is therisk of contamination with foreign bodies such as bones, stones, metal and glass (Fig. 1). You can stop contaminated products from leaving your production facility with our X-ray scanners of the SC series.
  • In addition to its standard X-ray inspection tasks, the SC-V has an integrated vision inspection systems enabling it to identify missing or incorrectly printed and positioned labels and eject the faulty product from the product flow. Thus you can ensure that all information (best before date, allergens, etc.) is legible.
  • The German Pre-packaging Regulation allows a specific tolerance between the weight printed on the packaging and the actual contents of the product. Our dynamic checkweighers reliably detect underfilling or overfilling and furthermore communicate with the filler to adjust the quantity in case of fluctuations. Protect your reputation and increase the efficiency of your production with high-precision checkweighers of our E-M-A series.
  • Metal detectors are frequently used for product inspection of ready meals. However, there is a limitation when it comes to metal cans and metallised packages. This is where X-ray scanners come in and easily handle this task.
  • Our X-ray scanners check the quality of the ready meals using a large number of software options. The completeness check detects - for example - if half a fish finger is missing (Fig. 2). Frozen pizza can be inspected for shape and toppings (Fig. 3). The product is rejected as soon as one of the quality parameters is not met.
  • Frozen ready meals, in particular, require a high standard of hygiene. Our X-ray systems and checkweighers (-VA and -WD series) are designed in protection classes IP65 and IP69K respectively. This makes them perfectly qualified for wet areas. They can also be cleaned easily and thoroughly.
  • Radiation protection curtains are often used to intercept the radiation from X-ray scanners. However, they can quickly wear out if they are used for inspecting angular products, such as cans or trays. In these cases, we provide sturdy curtains with a plastic protector or made of Cordura.
  • Curtainless X-ray scanners for ready meals are particularly suitable for lightweight products such as plastic or paper cups which can get caught in the curtains and cause a product jam. The modular design of the SC series allows maximum flexibility and a wide range of applications for perfect product handling.

Application example: Quality standards at Block House

Managing Director Jörg Jablonski provides an insight into the production of ready meals at Block House Butchery. Wipotec systems and software are in constant use in the plants. The company trusts in the SC-E X-ray scanner for foreign object detection and our HC-M checkweigher with stainless steel design for challenging wet environments (IP 65). The quality must always be excellent. This is why the level of automation has been increased continuously and the entire production process has been optimized sustainably.

Learn more about our marking solution at Block House in our detailed application report:


“X-ray scanners from Wipotec are an integral part of our production processes, designed to provide our customers with the highest level of safety with regard to products free of foreign bodies.

The scanners do sterling work, impressing with their very high detection accuracy and at the same time very low false rejection rate.


Carlo Cotti und Marzio Tellini,

Managing Directors Liodry Foods, Gattatico, Italy

The advantages of our checkweighers for product inspection of ready meals

  • Wipotec EMFR weigh cells permit throughputs of up to 650 pcs/min
  • Demand-oriented modularity for tailor-made applications
  • Exact filling results to reduce TCO
  • Easy and user-friendly operation
  • GMP conformity and hygienic design

Our combination devices are suited for inspection in compact spaces. The SC-W combines our high-precision checkweigher with the modular X-ray scanner. The HC-M-MDi is both checkweigher and metal detector in one space-saving unit. For the heavy-duty and secondary packaging sector, the HC-M-SL is an excellent solution.

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The advantages of our X-ray scanners in the product inspection of ready meals

  • Modularity of the SC series permits fast, flexible solution development and integration
  • Broad range from entry-level scanners to high-performance combined devices
  • High-resolution HD-TDI camera detector technology in compact designs
  • Optimal application implementation via intelligent software features
  • Compliance with standards such as HACCP, BRC or IFS and others
  • 16-bit camera technology
  • Camera detectors 102 µm resolution and multi-resolution
  • Inspection speeds up to 2 m/s

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