Coffee on conveyor belt Coffee on conveyor belt

Food sorting and inspection

Protecting and preserving foods and packaging

While language and culture distinguish nations all over the world, one facet of everyday life brings all people together like nothing else: good, wholesome food. The steady supply of safe food is taken for granted sometimes; however, professionals in agriculture and food packaging industries know exactly how important it is to analyze, monitor, and inspect food products in the packaging process. These companies face significant challenges like broken or unsealed packages, mislabeled products, and spoiled produce, all of which can severely impact a company’s bottom line and the health of customers.


Fortunately, Hamamatsu offers multiple options for use in devices designed for improving food inspection, sorting, safety, and quality. These accurate, reliable sensors and cameras can give inspectors the capability required to identify issues in food products and packaging before they are shipped out, preventing unsafe, low-quality food from reaching shelves and saving businesses costs on returned defective packages. Whether your processes require straightforward short-wave infrared (SWIR) detection or customized solutions, Hamamatsu can meet your needs in agricultural product and packaging safety.

Industrial problems

With world population currently at 7.7 billion and expected to grow to 9.7 billion by 2025, agricultural companies are challenged to keep up with the increasing demand for high quality food. To be successful, they must continually analyze and optimize the food sorting and inspection process.


Historically, humans were used to manually sort food along the conveyor belt, ensuring that only high quality produce reached the stores. As produce volume continues to grow, this becomes no longer feasible due to accuracy and cost issues:

  • Human vision can get confused by similar colors and shapes, and also cannot identify defects under skin or packaging
  • Increased volume of produce traveling down conveyor belt
  • High labor costs
  • Costs to return defective products reaching the market

These issues helped pave the way for automated machine vision technology. With machine vision, businesses can reduce errors in food sorting and packaging by detecting issues a human being would find difficult, if not impossible, to see, for example: moisture content and bruising on or beneath the skin of fruit and vegetables, leaking packaging, and distinguishing between foreign objects and goods of similar shapes and colors.

See beyond the surface

See beyond the surface

SWIR imaging allows us to see what our eyes cannot.

Packaging defects

Packaging defects and agricultural product sorting

Image sensors and cameras are used to see defects under packaging.

Industry 4.0 Machine vision and learning

Industry 4.0, machine vision and machine learning

Connectivity, automation, and machine learning propel business to the next level.

Food inspection x-ray

Food inspection

High-speed, high-resolution X-ray line scan cameras for food inspection

Food sorting and inspection solutions

Automated machine vision technology promises faster overall analysis compared to human examination, by detecting defects and problematic produce faster and more accurately. This will enable your packaging and shipping process to become more streamlined and get fresher, high-quality food to your customers.


Machine vision incorporating cameras to look beyond and beneath the surface can detect defects in food and packaging during the inspection process. Hyperspectral imaging is another solution to analyze food and can ensure food safety. A core technology employed in these cameras and analytical techniques is the image sensor.


Hamamatsu offers image sensors for every range applicable to food and packaging needs, in particular sensors for ultraviolet (UV), near-infrared (NIR), short-wave infrared (SWIR), and the visible spectrum. These sensors also feature low noise operation and high-speed capability to provide reliable readings and data your business can trust.

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Explore the vast array of opportunities offered by our photonic solutions and expertise, ranging from spectroscopic to hyperspectral infrared and X-ray imaging.

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