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Parmesan Cheese Quality Inspection via CAT Scanner and Robotic Arm

Project description

Parmesan cheese inspection goes high-tech

Parmesan cheese is one of the best-known Italian products around the world. Its demand by international consumers is constantly growing. However, quality and ageing issues due to the traditional handling and storage techniques represent factors that hinder its commercialisation. While the parmesan cheese industry improved traditional control methods, these are manual activities that require precision. A considerable part of production cannot be commercialised. The EU-funded PARMESCAN project is developing an innovative automated cheese quality inspection system that will permit complete control of the maturity process. The system consists of a robotic arm that uses CAT imaging technology to perfectly handle and clean the cheese wheels while avoiding cracks and defects.


Italian parmesan cheese, which can only be produced in Italy's Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy provinces, is highly appreciated across the world. However, its expansion is currently hindered by quality and aging issues such as cracks and other defects which appear from handling and storage. The sector has implemented, over the years, a process to assess and control cheese quality in its warehouses (which can contain over 150,000 wheels of cheese, each one weighing 40kg). But this traditional method, based on manual handling, cleaning and regular inspection by trained experts, lacks accuracy, can create more cracks and results in an incorrect cheese grading. This trend is alarming: as it affects directly the acceptance and value of the cheese, producers fail to sell a significant amount of their production, reaching up to 8% in 2015.

We are Ing. Ferretti, a 40-year-old Italian company that protects and promotes traditional Italian and EU products through design, manufacturing and sale of automation solutions for the dairy industry. Based on our customers’ concerns, and leveraging our experience in parmesan cheese quality assurance process, we have been developing PARMESCAN, our automated cheese quality inspection system. Combining a robotic arm designed for perfect handling/cleaning of the cheese wheels with CAT imaging technology, our innovative, non-invasive technique will allow producers to fully monitor their cheese maturity and guarantee the seal of authenticity on their products. Not only will our innovation ensure optimum quality grading of this flagship Italian product, but it will also create a simplified and accurate tracking process for every single cheese in a warehouse.

We expect PARMESCAN system – starting with parmesan before its expansion to other cheeses and types of food – to consolidate our position as a leading player in the dairy industry and provide us €8 million additional revenues after 5 years of exploitation and a ROI of 280%.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
Via silvio pellico 5
42020 Quattro castella

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Nord-Est Emilia-Romagna Reggio nell’Emilia
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00