Quality and process reliability as well as alternative proteins: Fraunhofer IVV at IFFA 2022
The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV will present solutions to the challenges currently faced by the food industry at the IFFA between May 14 and May 19, 2022 (Hall 11.1, Stand B70). The intelligent, sensor-based CleanAssist cleaning lance has been developed for manual cleaning processes, making consistent reproducibility and reliable quality possible for the first time. In the field of food safety, Co-Control, a customer-specific adaptable sensor for detecting organic contamination in particularly hygiene-critical environments, is being presented. With regard to meat alternatives, Fraunhofer IVV will show how plant-based protein sources can be used to make custom food ingredients and marketable products. The holistic concepts respond to the diverse requirements that Industrie 4.0, climate protection and skill shortage pose to businesses: from resource use to individual solutions for secure, automated processes, including hygienic design consulting and the development of sustainable packaging made from recyclable materials.
Virtual cleaning assistant “CleanAssist” for consistent quality assurance and documentation
In order to guarantee a secure and reproduceable cleaning process for manual cleaning for the first time, Fraunhofer IVV researchers have developed the first intelligent cleaning lance as part of a joint project funded by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM).
Sensors integrated within the lance enable cleaning parameters to be logged and the lance position and pose to be tracked. The data is subsequently transferred to an AR device (glasses, tablets or smartphones), projecting a real-time “digital twin” onto the physical cleaning environment. The cleaning lance user can see which areas have been successfully cleaned and which areas still need cleaning. CleanAssist also provides support in selecting the appropriate cleaning process. In such a way, it can be guaranteed on-site that all surfaces have been cleaned with the required amount of effort.
As well as reliable and consistent quality assurance and documentation of cleaning, CleanAssist also allows for guided optimization of cleaning procedures while helping to avoid cleaning errors that reduce the quality of a product. For this reason, staff are not only supported with cleaning, but can also receive targeted training by means of special practice exercises.
“Co-Control” — mobile quality assurance through imaging detection of organic contaminants
At Fraunhofer IVV, the Co-Control optical detection system has been developed on the basis of the extensive expertise in sensor technologies and the application-oriented design of camera-based measuring devices. The system is based on fluorescence analysis using UV radiation and allows for spatially-resolved detection of organic contaminants on two- and three-dimensional components. It can be used as a customer-specific adaptable inline system as well as a mobile photo chamber. Contaminants can therefore be quantified directly during production or as an online or offline solution, meaning that the causes for quality issues can be remedied.
High-grade proteins for meat alternatives
The continuing trend toward giving up meat has led to a steep increase in the demand for high-grade protein alternatives. Using their longstanding experience of producing protein ingredients and characterizing their technological properties, Fraunhofer IVV is working on steadily improving the sensory qualities of meat alternatives. This is because few consumers are ready to give up the dietary patterns they are used to.
Through their research into worthwhile plant- and insect-based protein sources, Fraunhofer IVV has been able to satisfy this high demand for meat alternatives. All of the process steps - from raw materials to developing new meat-like textures and hygienically producing marketable meat alternatives - can be reproduced on a laboratory and pilot scale. Especially in the production cultivation and processing of insect proteins, innovative automation and sensor solutions, coupled with AI-based process controls, are at the center of the research work. New product ideas are directly developed at their own food pilot plant facilities before being analytically examined. Custom food ingredients with a focus on holistic use of raw materials and individual solutions for automated processes provide answers to the challenges faced by the meat processing food industry and retail of tomorrow - especially for small- and mid-sized enterprises.