Academics from across the two universities will work alongside the manufacturer to transform production methods to support the business to reduce emissions and energy consumption by 60%.
Funded by Innovate UK, this two-year project will implement new digital technologies into the 100-year-old business’s production without the need to change existing machinery.
New processing techniques
Professor Martin Howarth (pictured), director of NCEFE at Sheffield Hallam, said: “Working with Rakusen’s and their material suppliers, we will use AI techniques to deliver new, highly efficient and low energy processing techniques to improve the consistency and sustainability of its traditional baked products using ingredients from the local region.”
Through this project, machine intelligence will capture knowledge and skills, moving to intelligent decision-making to support significant reduction in energy usage, carbon footprint and material waste.
Savas Konur, reader in computer science at the University of Bradford added: “We are delighted to work on this highly interdisciplinary project that addresses very specific technological challenges resulting from transforming a traditional food manufacturer to an efficient enterprise.
“We will fully utilise digital technologies, including Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as food science to minimise its carbon footprint and maximise its capacity without the need to change the existing legacy machinery and lose its 'heritage' identity.”
Konur talked to Food Manufacture in this exclusive podcast about the challenges of installing artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 technologies into a production line more than a century old.
Meanwhile, a new wave of food and drink manufacturers have helped Made Smarter’s trailblazing technology adoption programme mark its third anniversary supporting 200 businesses.