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Affordable Hyperspectral Imaging System for on-line foreign body detection and chemical composition analysis

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HYPERA (Affordable Hyperspectral Imaging System for on-line foreign body detection and chemical composition analysis)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-11-30

HYPERA is an inline quality inspection system for automated chemical composition analysis and foreign body detection in food, pharmaceutical and other industrial applications.
Foreign bodies are one of the biggest sources of complaint and prosecution in the food industry. The presence of unwanted objects or anomalies in food products can lead to costly product recalls and legal expenses, severely damage brand reputation and dent consumer confidence.
In view of the limitations of current detection systems, such as metal detectors or X-Ray, which can leave food processors exposed to risk, HYPERA is bringing an enhanced non-destructive technique to the food industry that is capable of instantly and consistently detecting a wide range of anomalies in foods during processing. Our system can readily detect the unwanted presence of Insects, Glass, Plastics / Teflon, Chewing Gum, Hair, Cigarette Butts, Stones / Sands, Nutshells, Fruits Pits, and indeed any anomaly. HYPERA is a smart investment for industry leaders that want to provide outstanding levels of food quality and safety guarantees, while at the same time protecting their business against costly product recalls, loss of image and loss of business.
HYPERA is great news for consumers, in that, it will prevent countless food scares and scandals in the future, and protected consumers from such hazards as the presence of plastics in chocolate bars (which are a choking hazard for small children), or from encountering human hair, parts of insects, cleaning fluids, or particles of the wrong foods contaminating other foods- which can be detrimental for people with allergies-, to name just some examples.
Through the SME Instrument, we have accelerated the scale up of the system to a nearly market ready inline quality monitoring solution that we have successfully trialled and validates in five different food application cases for the detection of foreign bodies in pizzas, ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, processed fruit and vegetables, and cooked meats.
Thanks to have the access to SME Instrument funds we have been able to expand our development team of highly qualified scientists and engineers. We have levered a strong cross disciplinary team to inject innovation from the fields photonics, chemometrics, software development and Artificial Intelligence in order to gain new IP and bring performance improvements to our system, which will ultimately benefit the competitiveness of the food industry and the quality of life of European consumers.
We have also in parallel with the development work, focussed with our market, sales and senior management teams in gearing up to enter the market with a disruptive technology that hold tremendous potential. We have levered the opportunities offered to us by the SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services to pitch to corporates, participate in brokerages for lead generation, attend International Exhibitions, such as the Hannover Messe. We have also increased our competence and business expertise through the SME academy, whereby we have been exposed to such strategic tools as Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas and Market Segmentation, as well as benefitted from the insights and mentor of strategic business coaches.
We have used the 4Ps Marketing Mix tool to define and commence the implementation of our strategies in relation to Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement of our HYPERA solution in the market. We have built and trained our sales team, secured our first sales, signed our first Channel Partnerships and also exhibited our new solutions at international tradeshows such as Foodex in the UK, Foodex in Barcelona, Food & Drink Business Europe (Dublin), as well as disseminated at Anuga, Achema, and other conferences and events.
"Our system is highly novel as it combines two imaging cameras with different wavelength regions combined with chemometrics and artificial intelligence tools, in order to gain the following advantages for industry:
• High resolution (chemometrics mitigates the issue of image distortion caused by ""scattering"")
• Quantification of chemical or physical parameters with spatial information (this is key for detecting not only the presence of an anomaly, but exactly where that anomaly is located).
• Good penetrability of food/materials- which is important of detecting anomalies beneath the surfaces and within foods.
• Composition differentiation (this is key for detecting anomalies and for visualizing defects that are not visible for the human eye nor for artificial vision cameras)
• ‘All-in-one’ design, high inspection speeds, versatility and affordability and easily combinable with alarm and sorting systems (key for industry adoption)
• Designed for performing in harsh industrial environment
At the end of the project, we have an almost market-ready inline quality inspection system that offers an overall ratio of identification of over 95% for applications targeted to date, and for which we are submitting a patent application.
In conclusion, HYPERA is a timely development that will deliver high impact. Foreign body hazards represent one of the most significant risks associated with the production and distribution of food products. Prevention is key to minimising the risks to consumer health and safety and avoiding product rejections and recalls that can lead to high levels of food being wasted. The HYPERA® system is a cost-effective, rapid, reliable and non-destructive inline quality inspection system for the real-time inspection of foods for foreign body detection and chemical composition analysis. Our solution will prevent non-spec products from entering the food chain, thereby avoiding product rejections, product recalls, and ultimately safeguarding consumer health and safety.


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