Bread gets ahead Bread-makers can now optimise their equipment, upgrade their facilities and improve production processes, thanks to new web-based software. Digital Economy © Thinkstock Bread is the staff of life and has been an important staple around the world for millennia. Now this important food has come of age as knowledge on bread-making processes and related equipment hit the World Wide Web. With this in mind, the EU-funded project E-Breadmaking is helping take this sector online. The project aimed to exploit intelligent web-based software such as rule-based system and fuzzy logic to optimise equipment configurations and improve the production chain. It used intelligent reasoning features to design e-commerce applications in order to help clients select ideal bread-making processes and equipment customisation. Users input production levels, bread format, atmospheric conditions, layout restrictions and room dimensions into a virtual configuration to determine their suitability. Overall the system helps centralise knowledge about bread-making processes and equipment, identifying market requirements as well. It promotes business-to-business e-commerce effectively and provides a virtual reality environment for the client to assess equipment suitability before ordering. The technology is expected to reduce the number of specialists and resources needed to design and procure the right bread-making equipment. It will promote more specialised products in the industry and improve competitiveness in the sector. Across Europe, SMEs in the field will especially stand to benefit from such a web-based platform.