Project: On–line technologies for food process control
There is an ever-increasing need to transfer measurement and sensing technology from the laboratory / research arena into food manufacturing facilities (at- or on-line). A major driver is the need for rapid, sensitive measurements to enable quick reaction to changes in product quality or process conditions. This need is best met by detection and sensing solutions which can be integrated for automated control of manufacturing processes, which can also provide quality assurance data and remote monitoring of product quality and process performance. Current applications for on-line measurements of food processes include monitoring of equipment parameters such as speed, power consumption and temperature. Monitoring of product properties includes temperature monitoring of thermal processing, NIR measurement of composition, and foreign body detection. Opportunities exist to provide additional information on food processes through novel application of new and established sensing approaches. Potential benefits of on-line sensing for improved food quality, safety and reduced waste can be quantified in hundreds of millions of pounds.