Breakthrough technology

Baking breakthrough improves product quality

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Moisture content Chorleywood food research Baking

Bakers could soon be benefiting from new technology developed to
ensure high standards of product quality and appearance are met
while maximising efficiency, cutting costs and reducing waste.

The Senbak system allows for multi-sensor inspection of durable baked goods such as hard biscuits, waffles, crackers, crispbreads and rusks.

The single automated system is used on the production line to monitor weight, moisture content, colour and physical dimensions in one simple, self-contained instrument.

The prototype was developed through an EU project with experts from the Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Assocation (CCFRA) collaborating with European specialists such as TTZ Bremerhaven and Imix Vision Support Systems.

Given the efficiency of Senbak as a complete tool to measure product parameters, bakeries can reduce time pressures and cut down on raw material use thanks to the reduction of waste - saving costs at a number of points through the production process.

Products can be monitored by Senbak manually or as part of an on-line system.

The technology is designed to be particularly user-friendly and allows for easy changeover and adjustments.

CCFRA cereals and milling science manager Martin Whitworth told "In Senbak, the user simply places a sample in the instrument and presses a button on a PC.

No sample preparation is required and all of the measurements are made automatically with no further user intervention."

According to Whitworth, while small bakeries may currently measure moisture content, weight and simple dimensions, Senbak allows for a more detailed reading of size, shape, colour and other aspects of product appearance.

The image analysis technology involved can also be incorporated into customised systems.

A prototype of the Senbak apparatus was completed at the end of January and a final report on the project is now under consideration.

Several of the companies involved are hoping to maximise the project's potential for the baking industry.

Whitworth said: "Several of the partners now hope to exploit the technology further and to make the prototype available for demonstration to relevant interested parties."

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