In a  IWT-VIS-project, called ‘Sensors For Food’, Flanders’ FOOD and research partners from IMEC, KU Leuven, VUB en IBBT/UGent join forces during four years to evaluate, optimize and validate innovative sensors for applications in the food industry. This project is subsidized for 80 % by the Flemish IWT.

The project focusses on sensors that allow for a better, faster and more accurate evaluation of food quality, safety and processing in a food production environment. It includes the following services and validation projects:

  • Sensors For Food platform
  • Validation project optical fiber biosensors
  • Validation project Hyperspectral cameras
  • Validation project millimeterwave sensors for drying
  • Validation project millimeter wave sensors for freeing

The Sensors For Food platform brings food manufacturers and technology providers together in a forum for food industry sensor systems. The aim is to improve, increase the awareness and explore the application of existing, new and upcoming sensor systems for the food industry . Activities include: a screening of needs and opportunities for the food industry, a technology watch on emerging sensor innovations, generation and support of innovative ideas, networking and partner matching between food companies and technology suppliers. Via a centralized contact point, services are provided concerning sensor systems that are already available for the food industry. For example, assistance is offered for issues regarding sensor calibration and selection. Furthermore, a number of thematic seminars, workshops and training courses will be organized.

Partners: Flanders’ FOOD, IMEC en MeBioS-KU Leuven

Why participate?: You are informed on the needs and opportunities of the food industry,  you are kept up to date regarding the newest technological evolutions, you are part of a unique network that will enhance your innovation process and facilitate partner matching, you can benefit from out service concerning sensor systems, you can attend the seminars, work shops and trainings at a reduced price.

How participate?: To benefit from the services and opportunities of the Sensors For Food Platform you have ti be a member of Flanders’ FOOD (more information: www.flandersfood.com/lid-worden-van-flanders-food).  We are glad to welcome SME’s. 

Interested? Contact Veerle De Graef

(veerle.degraef@flandersfood.com)  


In the frame work of the Intelligence For Food project the Optical Fibre Biosensor, developed within the research group MeBioS at KU Leuven, was identified as a promising innovative sensor system for the detection of, for instance, (hidden) allergens, GMO’s and DNA of micro-organisms and virusses. It is a biosensor system of the next generation that has the potential to allow for faster, quantitative, more accurate and cost awear and on-site quality control in food companies. The system can be used for multiplex screening of raw materials, intermediate and end products, production processes and cleaning procedures for various specific bio-molecules and micro-organisms at an affordable cost. This can include screening for allergens, toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses, GMO etc. A prototype is available that will be used throughout the project for demonstration, experiments, further knowledge development, optimization research and validation in collaboration with the participating companies. The existing common techniques (ELISA, qPCR) will be used as reference techniques. The validation project combines technical evaluations (sensitivity, detection limit, robustness, measuring rate,…) with considerations on the balance between cost and benefits and knowledge transfer on detection techniques on allergens, toxins, GMO and micro-organisms for the food industry. 

More information on this technology: STW article ‘Biosensoren detecteren allergenen, toxines en DNA van micro-organismen op de productiesite’ (also see www.flandersfood.com/stwnieuwsbrief)

Partner: MeBioS-KU.Leuven

Why participate?: Feasibility study for screening of specific allergens, toxins, bacteria, viruses, GMO’s on raw materials, intermediate products, end products and/or processes, including cleaning processes are possible. This will be followed by a further optimization based on your needs. After validation further advise for implementation is offered.

How to participate?: You have to be or to become member of Flanders’ FOOD and contribute, together with the other participating companies 20% of the validation project. The validation projects also aims at SME’s.

More information on this validation project, the work plan and the financial contribution can be found here

 

In the framework of the Intelligence For Food project the spectral camera systems developed by  IMEC and the research group MeBioS (KU Leuven) were identified as promising innovative sensor systems for the detection of foreign objects, latent defects, mycotoxine producing moulds, for thorough quality inspection of product surfaces as well as for visualization of product composition (water, sugar, fat, protein). This technique also offers possibilities for hygiene screening as some invisible aspect scan be ‘visualized’. Hyperspectral camera’s are the vision systems of the future as the can extract faster more detailed information from one image and even from one pixel. They combine traditional image processing with spectroscopy . They do not only use the three broad wavelengths of the visible light (the three basic colours red, green, blue) and the broad NIR (near infra red) domain. For every pixel of the image, the light is split into many narrow wavelength bands, resulting in a particular spectral fingerprint of an object: a unique spectral curve giving very detailed information about that object. The higher the amount of wavelength bands, the higher the spectral resolution.

This project aims at making the technology of spectral camera’s accessible for the Flemish food industry. A prototype is yet available the will be used for demonstrations, test under industrial conditions, further knowledge development, optimization research and validation in collaboration with the participating companies. The validation project combines technical evaluations (sensitivity, detection limit, robustness, measuring rate,…) with considerations on the balance between cost and benefits. Knowledge transfer concerning fast quality assessment with spectral cameras in the food industry is an important aspect within the project. Support for applications in the VNIR domain (400-1000 nm) will be provided by IMEC, while MeBioS (K.U.Leuven) will support the NIR based applications (1000 – 2500 nm). Taking into consideration costs and benefits, it will be determined which system can be implemented in the company; a flexible but high-cost spectral camera or a low-cost vision system based in standard camera’s and LED illumination on specific wavelengths. Using line scanners this technology is suited to be implemented above transportation belts or sorting lines. A complete system architecture will be developed that can be elaborated by an integrator (3rdparty) to a specific product.

 

Information on the technology: STW artikel ‘Verborgen hygiëne- en kwaliteitsdefecten detecteren met spectrale camera’s’ (zie ookwww.flandersfood.com/stwnieuwsbrief). 

Partners: Imec-NVISION group and MeBioS-KU Leuven

Why participate?: Feasibility tests for thorough quality inspection, visualization of product composition, as well as detection of foreign objects in raw materials, intermediate and final products and/or processes are possible. These tests will be followed by further optimization and a tailor-made suggestion with considerations on the balance between cost and detection performance. After validation, extensional advise for implementation is offered

How to participate? You have to be or become member of Flanders’ FOOD and contribute  (together with the other participating companies) 20% of the project budget. The validation project is also open for SME’s. 

More information on this validation project, the work plan and the financial contribution can be found here

 

 

In the frame work of the Intelligence For Food project the millimeter wave sensors developed by the research group ETRO  of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are identified as promising innovative sensor systems for the optimization of industrial drying and freezing processes in the food industry. These sensors allow for contact less measurements into the core of the food product. They combine the penetration depth hand the high resolution of millimeter waves. These waves have a very specific interaction with water. They are absorbed by free water molecules and the degree of absorption depends on the residual moisture in the food product.

As such, these sensors can be applies to measure the moisture content of for instance fresh vegetables and fruit of from dried nuts and fruits. With specific sensor configurations the drying temperature and drying speed can be monitored and the final moisture content determined. In contrast, upon freezing the millimeter waves are no longer absorbed, which makes these sensors suitable for monitoring freezing processes. Furthermore, millimeter waves do not suffer from dust, dirt, fog, or temperature effects which makes this system suitable for use on the production floor. A unique quasi-optical millimeter wave network analyzer is available that will be used in the project for demonstrations and experimental studies to determine which frequency bands are most suitable for the different applications. In a next step, prototypes will be developed that can reach the optimal sensitivity  and accuracy that will be tested on practical industrial drying and freezing applications. These compact sensor configurations can be installed above a production line and used for on-line monitoring of freezing and drying processes. The validation project combines technical evaluations (sensitivity, detection limit, robustness, measuring rate,…) with a comparative study of other measuring techniques and known destructive sampling experiments that will be used as references. After this validation, advice will be offered on the implementation of affordable integrated sensor solutions. Engineering companies that can build these more integrated versions are available.

 

More information on the technology: STW artikels  ‘Contactloos vochtpercentage meten bij industriële droogprocessen’ en ‘Contactloze temperatuursmeting bij industriële vriesprocessen (zie www.flandersfood.com/stwnieuwsbrief). 

Partners: ETRO-Vrije Universiteit Brussel en INTEC (Universiteit Gent)

Why participate?: Feasibility tests for the determination of moisture content of you raw materials, intermediate products and end products and for the evaluation of freezing and drying processes are possible, followed by further optimization and suggestion of an integrated sensor solution based on your needs, taking into account the balance of cost versus measuring precision. After validation, in depth advice on implementation is offered.

How to participate? You have to be or become member of Flanders’ FOOD and contribute  (together with the other participating companies) 20% of the project budget. The validation project is also open for SME’s.

More information on this validation project, the work plan and the financial contribution can be found here