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In-factory food analytical systems and technologies

Why this project?

The modern consumer has high demands regarding product quality. High quality standards must be obtained and maintained to prevent a breach of trust and a damaged image. This is only possible through exceptional quality monitoring of the processes, the raw materials, the intermediate products and end products. All of this at an increasing processing speed and in an increasingly complex production environment. Finally, there is an increased demand for new products that can only be brought onto the market quickly when sound quality systems to support these new introductions are in place.

Research and results

iFast was a collective research and development project (type VIS trajectory), whose main objective was to allow Flemish food companies to be better equipped to carry out analyses for product quality, development and process monitoring via new and fast monitoring and analysis systems.

The project consisted of an innovation platform with advisory services and 3 practice-oriented validation trajectories.

Food companies and technology providers were brought together in a multidisciplinary platform that strived to find concrete solutions and innovations for high-quality analyses of raw materials, intermediate products (in processing) and end products for the Flemish food industry through an integrated approach and close interaction.

Three technologies that were at the top of the market and offered completely new opportunities for food companies were evaluated, adapted and optimised.

Validation trajectory FYSTEM

In this section, the broad applicability of non-destructive techniques (low resolution NMR) for determining the physical structure of concentrated food emulsions (such as minarines, dressings, recombined cream) was studied.

Validation trajectory MOBISPEC

This validation trajectory consisted of two sections.  On the one hand, research into the potential of point-contact spectroscopy was carried out and, on the other hand, the potential of (portable) hyperspectral cameras was studied.

Validation trajectory X-FAST

The objective of this section was to research if the structural properties, foreign objects and defects in food products can be detected with X-ray tomography. This was done in various conditions, in a laboratory situation (low-speed, high-quality imaging) to industrial environments (high-speed, lower quality imaging) so that a realistic assessment could be made of the sustainability of practical implementations.

Within each of these three domains, the researchers gained an enormous amount of new knowledge about the basic principles, the possibilities and limitations and the concrete application possibilities for companies.  This knowledge was shared with the companies that followed this project from close up via the user group meetings.

Follow-up actions

The insights from the three validation trajectories led to quite a few very specific follow-up actions from companies.

Thanks to the platform, a whole range of Flanders’ FOOD projects and projects from the project partners were established:

Interested in the results? 

The project has ended since 31/01/2020, but the results from the validation trajectories can still be purchased. A personal explanation by the responsible project manager is included in the purchase. The price depends on the participation price for a project, the age of the results and the size (number of employees) of the company. For more information and/or an order, please contact the project manager. 

Project Partners

Flanders’ FOOD was responsible for managing and coordinating the project. Flanders’ FOOD and various research groups and partners were responsible for the execution:

  • Ghent University
  • Mebios-KULeuven
  • imec