IFST SC21 - Smart Manufacturing event highlight

This event highlight covers the second session of our IFST Spring conference 2021 (SC21) - Food Science and Technology: Thinking Smart, Acting Smart

The focus of today’s session was smart manufacturing within the food sector. To start off the day, Dr Raymond Obayi provided insight into how we can use digital technologies to optimize data-driven value across the food supply chain. He explained ‘’with the rapid advances in digital technology, food manufacturing can now unlock new value for the food supply chain’’. Dr Raymond highlighted that when choosing which technology to deploy, ‘’ it’s important to first carefully define the data-driven requirements you want to monitor’’. He added ‘’it’s not always about tracing the newest technologies but tracing technologies that are fit for purpose’’.

In the next presentation, Adrian Marshall, Director of Crafty Tech, explored smarter ways in which we can facilitate product automation. Adrian provided us with several examples of how we can simplify product handling, including with the use of wheels and discs to manipulate complex processes. He focussed on the importance of synchronisation in product automation, explaining that ‘’even if you have a regular product, critical processes may need to be synchronised with product phasing’’. Furthermore, Adrian pointed out ‘’how even the most trivial thing can impact your ability to automate and explained how even the tipping of the box can be achieved in a smarter way.

In our third and final presentation of the day, Dr Nik Watson addressed the question: Will in-process sensing and machine learning deliver Industry 4.0 to the food and drink sector? This presentation focussed on how combining sensors and machine learning could optimize digitization in food manufacturing factories through two case studies. Dr Nik Watson acknowledged that ‘’the food and drink sector is an extremely diverse sector, it’s not going to be one solution fits all’’. He commented that ‘’successfully combining sensor measurements with machine learning requires a diverse range of expertise across several areas: including materials, processing, sensor, and data’’. He explained why ‘’It’s important to understand the limitations as well as the benefits of any technology’’ and that ‘’getting people engaged in novel technologies will be key to the digitisation of food factories’’.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @ifstnews for live tweets during the sessions.

Also, don't miss your opportunity to attend the rest of the Spring Conference - we have more exciting topics to discuss, Friday 30 April, we have a session on Smart Packaging. Book now!