Connecting smart sensor systems for the food industry
Food companies can make their production more efficient and guarantee smooth quality control and monitor food safety with the smart use of sensors. However, there is still a long way to go before industry 4.0 technologies and sensors can be implemented throughout the entire food industry with its many SMEs. This path is being cleared via the ConnSensys project.
The food industry has specific demands for sensors and the IT challenges that go along with them. They also expect the machine manufacturers to integrate these sensors in the devices and machines they manufacture. By creating a European platform for smart sensor systems, those involved will gain a better understanding of each others' possibilities and criteria for the (to be developed) technologies.
Connsensys was an SME-supporting project within the EU COSME program (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), its main objective being the development of an international network of living labs where sensor technologies can be demonstrated, tested and further developed.
These living labs are the linchpin in the digital innovation ecosystem and will make the implementation of these smart sensor systems easier for the food industry. Because by setting up a living lab, food companies and technology developers will have access to all the existing and potentially interesting technologies in Europe. The Food Pilot is a good example of a living lab that is included in this network.
In order to set up this network and its living labs, food companies were extensively surveyed about their needs and challenges regarding the use of sensors and digitalisation in general. Interesting sensors and technologies and their providers in Europe were mapped out, and included in a technology catalogue where, in a single glance, we can see which technology is available for specific challenges food companies are facing. Two demonstrative case studies were developed as validation.
The project was a European collaboration between clusters and knowledge institutions from various sectors: food sector, ICT and technology.
Flanders’ FOOD coordinated the consortium of 8 partners from 6 European regions: