When producing potato crisps, the thickness of the potato slices is a critical factor. Consistency, quality and taste depend to a significant degree on the thickness of the slices. If they are too thick, a soft core remains at the end of the cooking time. However, if the slices are too thin, they can overcook and burn.
Although the slices are mechanically cut to the same thickness, the thickness of the cut slices changes during the production time. This depends on the process parameters and the condition of the tools used. This is why it is important to continuously monitor the thickness during production by using the scanCONTROL 2950-50/BL sensor. The sensor projects a laser line onto a conveyor belt, which continuously guides sample slices along it. A blue laser diode is used here since the blue laser line penetrates significantly less into the surface than the red laser. When penetrating the material, the measurement line would expand, resulting in a blurred laser line. With organic materials, the slight penetration behaviour of the blue laser results in higher measurement accuracy.
Due to the slow change in thickness, it is not necessary to measure every single slice. It is sufficient if the potato slice surfaces are measured in random samples on a conveyor belt. The customer software, which is based on simple image processing algorithms, then determines the average thickness, the planarity and the total volume.
If defined limit values are exceeded, the process parameters can be adapted accordingly, making it unnecessary to wait until quality control checks of the final product. Material, time and money can therefore be saved.