Heriot-Watt is part of a collaborative project which secured £40,000 funding from the Scottish Sensor System Centre to develop non-intrusive sensors for the food industry.
The project will be carried out in close collaboration between food ingredient manufacturer, Macphie and Heriot-Watt's Microsystems Engineering Centre (MiSEC) research group led by Professor Marc Desmulliez.
The MiSEC group has several years' expertise in the design of monitoring systems in other industrial sectors. Macphie has a track record of long-standing collaborations with universities and will contribute its expertise in food processing, food product composition, and knowledge of the UHT process plant.
The project seeks to offer solutions in the design, manufacture and use of microwave-based instrumentation related to the non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and non-destructive inspection (NDI) of food products at Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing plants. The vision is to develop a platform technology for the food and drink industry.
The project has the ability to make an immediate market and commercial impact for the company, by significantly improving the production economics of Macphie's UHT processing plant which services the UK and 40 export country markets.
The project is expected to have significant market potential given the global usage of UHT processing plants for a variety of food products, none of which today have technology of the type envisaged by this project.