CHEMICAL IMAGING TECHNOLOGY - CIT®
Where we initially used the human eye, and then optical sorting technologies such as black and white cameras, color cameras, laser systems and X‑rays, Chemical Imaging Technology (CIT®) is now setting new standards for the optical sorting and monitoring of foodstuffs. Full spectrum real time analysis makes the invisible visible. Process control and sorting based on the chemical composition of foodstuffs deliver unprecedented performance.
In chemical terms, infrared radiation is used to stimulate covalent molecular bonds in (mostly) organic compounds. This creates overtones and combination bands in the fundamental vibrations of the molecules, which can then be measured. NIR spectroscopy is therefore an almost ideal non‑contact procedure for identifying organic bonds in a wide range of foodstuffs.
The technology has been further developed into Hyperspectral Imaging. This term refers to high‑resolution image spectroscopy, which generally extends the 2D information provided by traditional spectrometers to include a third dimension, the location, by means of a specialized system.
The information provided by this technology is an order of magnitude more detailed than that provided by e.g. single line optical cameras, and this is why it delivers much more selective results than technologies currently on the market. Advances in data processing speed and affordable hardware that can deal with the enormous quantities of data involved are now opening up commercial applications for monitoring and sorting foodstuffs. Foreign bodies, or defects that would be completely invisible to the naked eye, can be detected purely on the basis of the chemical composition of the foodstuff and removed from the product stream.