An East Midlands innovation project has generated £1.9M worth of engineering orders from the food and drink industry, according to the Food Processing Knowledge Transfer Network (FPKTN), which aims to encourage technical development in the sector.
The Championing Innovation between the Engineering and Food Sectors (ChIEFS) project is sponsored by the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA).
“The team at EMDA is delighted that the project is achieving its objectives,” said Chris Brock, EMDA’s head of sector innovation. “It seems to be restoring the innovation culture that was being squeezed out of food manufacturing.”
The project is now focusing on developing technologies identified by food processors as vital to the future growth of their companies and the sector. They include: understanding machine design and its processing effect on food; inline, real-time temperature measurement; active surfaces including food factory floors to minimise accidents and maximise cleaning. Other areas are: late customisation in the food factory to eliminate changeovers and provide flexibility; and the design of modular, ‘plug-and-play’ equipment.
FPKTN is urging food, engineering or technology companies and academics to email if they are interested in developing projects in these areas.