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Strawberry Processing Machine

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SPM (Strawberry Processing Machine)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

Strawberry calyx removal is a process required by the frozen strawberry industry. Today, this task is achieved manually by low paid workers and involving the risks such as food contamination or injury due to blade manipulation. In this context, Orizon Vision and Acessomatic designed an industrial machine with the purpose of automatizing the calyx removal process.
The feasibility study for the above mentioned project was funded by the H2020 phase 1 of SME instruments. The action was developed between June and November 2015 with the mains purpose of providing a deep research and analysis of several aspects regarding the business case. Four independent aspects have been approached:
1. Market study – through deep analysis of data from different sources, we intended to have a better understanding about the strawberry market and in particular the frozen strawberry market. The contact with a prospective client allowed a better understanding of the requirements and customer view of the business.
2. Technical tests – preliminary tests on the artificial vision algorithms, an innovative and critical part of the proposed solution, in order to ensure technical feasibility of the solution in respect to customers’ expectation. Research on EU standards and directives regarding food machinery in order to ensure allowed commercialization across the EU countries.
3. Intellectual property – research on background, namely existing industrial and academic solutions, which could compromise the patentability and degree of innovation of our solutions. Research on existing patents in order to assess available technology and conflicts with the proposed machine.
4. Business plan – a detailed business plan evaluating the three previous points as well as reasonable financial projections further supported the return on investment and the financial viability of the project.
This feasibility study allowed achieving important conclusions regarding market size, existing competitors and technology as well as redefining reasonable financial projections. The main outcome of this project is the ability to engage into a more informed and supported decision regarding the investment in this project.
The project has been developed between June and November 2015 with significant developments regarding several aspects. Concerning the market needs, the contact and multiple meetings with a prospective client allowed a deeper understanding of the needs and lacking technology. We could have a better understanding of why the inconveniences of existing solutions.
We performed early technical tests regarding computer vision and image processing which allowed to ensure technical feasibility of our algorithm with acceptable performance. We have studied current standards and legal obligations regarding food processing machinery in order to ensure that our solution can be easily commercialized across Europe.
The Orizon Vision team performed a comprehensive study on existing strawberry processing machines which allowed understanding existing conflicting or potentially conflicting patents, as well as obstacles to the patentability of our solution.
The objective of the H2020 SME Phase 1 is the development of a feasibility study allowing a better indepth knowledge of the proposed project. In this context, the execution of four different tasks allows evaluating the feasibility of the project. Based on the information and conclusions obtained from tasks 1 to 3, a business plan allows understanding the real value and return of the solution to both Orizon Vision but also to potential clients, further allowing to understand the financial viability of the project.
The main expected outcome of this project will be the final evaluation based on the conclusions of the four tasks which will provide critical input regarding the motivations and challenges of the project and providing ground for the decision to pursue or abandon the project.
Processed Strawberries