Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Digital imaging system helps bakery produce perfect buns


The perfect bun: That’s one of the goals of an automated product-inspection prototype under development by Georgia Tech researchers working with Flowers Bakery in Villa Rica, Ga.

An automated product-inspection prototype is under development by Georgia Tech researchers working with Flowers Bakery in Villa Rica, Ga. Researchers are introducing continuous imaging technology to the large-scale production of sandwich buns.
Georgia Tech Photo

An automated product-inspection prototype is under development by Georgia Tech researchers working with Flowers Bakery in Villa Rica, Ga. Researchers are introducing continuous imaging technology to the large-scale production of sandwich buns.
Georgia Tech Photo 300 dpi version

The first phase of the work is introducing continuous imaging technology to the large-scale production of sandwich buns for fast-food restaurants, which hold to exacting product specifications.

The fresh-baked buns are scanned by a digital camera as they move along Flowers’ production line. Items not measuring up in terms of color, shape, seed distribution, size or other criteria are identified by the computerized eye’s imaging software and eventually removed automatically from the conveyor.

The system concept is under development by engineers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s (GTRI) Food Processing Technology Division in association with researchers from Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and BakeTech, a baking equipment manufacturer in Tucker, Ga.

The project was made possible, in part, by funding from Georgia’s Traditional Industries Program for Food Processing, a 10-year-old research and development program designed to improve the market competitiveness of Georgia’s food processing industry -- the state’s second-largest employer. The Food Processing Advisory Council (FoodPAC) oversees such state-funded research grants.

The computerized imaging system in development will automate the inspection process at Flowers. Ultimately, the new approach will save money and time by increasing yield and reducing waste, says Doug Britton, a GTRI research engineer and co-principal investigator for the project.

“It should reduce the time between noticing a problem and fixing it,” Britton explains. Also, the system will automatically record data, such as product count and the number of out-of-spec buns, to generate production reports. “Flowers will have all this data immediately for doing statistical process control so they can implement changes that reduce the number of poor-quality buns,” he adds. “They’ll get a better handle on what they are producing."

The second phase of the project will extend automation by providing in-line mechanisms to correct the vagaries leading to poor-quality products. Proofers and ovens -- the heat- and humidity-controlled chambers where dough is sent to rise and bake -- are subject to normal disturbances that can affect product quality. Automatically compensating for those disturbances reduces time spent correcting problems.

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering researchers, working with the GTRI team, are using data from the screening and image-processing phase and from additional sensor inputs to build a supervisory control system. It will be able to make changes in the proofer and oven settings to fix problems as they are detected.

“Baking is both a science and an art,” says Professor Bonnie Heck, Britton’s colleague from ECE. “Good bakers know both and are able to react based on experience and feedback from the process. We’re trying to enhance the ability of expert and novice bakers alike to make better quality-control adjustments, while also adding automation that can mimic some of those adjustments dynamically.”

While the computerized quality-control and self-correcting production system holds great commercial promise for the baking industry, Britton says, generic aspects of the technology may be adapted to other food processing industries as well.

Jane Sanders | Georgia Tech
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht New process for cell transfection in high-throughput screening
21.03.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>