Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EUREKA TRIQ SORTING project develops a new sorting system for better grain-based foods

20.12.2006
Quality control is a fundamental part of today’s food production industry, yet many factors that affect quality are not easy to assess with current technologies. A team of well-trained workers can pick out bad apples from a production line, for example, but very small items like wheat grains can also vary in quality in ways that are not detectable, even by the keenest of eyes.

Wheat kernel composition is closely related to final product quality, and while plant breeders are actively developing tailor-made grains with novel starch and other characteristics, these factors still vary widely even within a single plant.

“Humans realised very early that not all grains are created equal,” explains Bo Löfqvist, CEO of Sweden’s BoMill AB, “but the process of sorting grains by hand is very tiresome and inefficient, so we devised machines to do it automatically.” Today, the most common technological approaches to sorting grain, seeds, and other small particles involve detecting size, colour or density. “They are effective to a certain extent,” says Löfqvist, “but there are still other characteristics, of wheat grains, for example, that cannot be detected by any of these methods and that nevertheless have an important impact on quality.”

Kernels at the kernel

BoMill is a small company based in Lund Sweden. Its motto is, ‘We qualify grain one by one’, and that’s exactly what they are doing with the new TRIQ SORTING system. BoMill’s EUREKA partner is Cimbria Heid, another small company, based in Austria, which specialises in the development and installation of seed and grain processing plants. Its product range includes all machines required for the cleaning, drying, sorting, treating, weighing and packing of seed.

Together, Löfqvist’s team have devised a system for sorting wheat grains and the like based on internal content, not external appearance. “We know that there are qualitative differences between individual grains of wheat,” he explains. “Even on a single wheat plant, which produces a maximum of about 100 grains, there are significant qualitative differences between the individual grains. Some of the grains will be better suited to biscuit production, for example. Others will make better bread. A third type will be best for producing pasta.” But, until now, says Löfqvist, it has been very difficult to tell these grains apart, and some existing methods for determining kernel quality are destructive.

Ingenious device

“The TRIQ SORTING system involves capturing individual particles, in this case wheat grains, in little pockets on the inside surface of a specially equipped cylinder, sort of like the drum of a clothes washing machine,” says Löfqvist. The grains are irradiated individually with infrared light and the reflections analysed by a specially designed detector. From there, the grains are shot out by bursts of air into appropriate receptacles. The cylinder rotates and the next batch of grains is analysed.

Löfqvist and his team say the new system simplifies the wheat grain sorting process. “We have already demonstrated the feasibility of this system for sorting wheat for food production. It has also been used to sort malting barley.” Incredibly, he says the system is capable of sorting, with a high degree of accuracy, as many as two billion individual wheat kernels per hour. The market potential is also staggering, considering the wide range of possible applications in the food industry alone.

“The project has been very successful,” says Löfqvist. “We have managed to identify the principals for upscaling the capacity of our more or less handmade prototype by a factor of 500.” The TRIQ SORTING team is now looking forward to further operational testing and, ultimately, full-scale commercialisation.

“EUREKA was instrumental in helping to get the new system up and running,” says Löfqvist. “We are now looking to move our machine onto the market where we are hoping for a very good reception.”

High praise for EUREKA

Löfqvist says that for SMEs like BoMill, finding appropriate funding sources can be a nightmare. “EUREKA, on the other hand, inspires us,” he explains, “and gives us hope to continue with our entrepreneurial work. Personally, I would like to see EUREKA given a mandate to support projects one step further towards commercialisation. They know the European dimension and they know how to set priorities, how to plan and how to follow up in order to secure success.”

“I have never worked with a research instrument as skilled and efficient as EUREKA,” says Löfqvist. “And you should know that I have worked with many, as an applicant, as a receiver of funding and as an officer. In my opinion, EUREKA is excellent in directing and focusing R&D work towards commercial goals. They really contributed to the successful outcome of this project through their experience and skill.”

Sally Horspool | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be
http://www.eureka.be/triqsorting

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines
11.06.2018 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Where are Europe’s last primary forests?
29.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>