Jointly developed with Wavision, a startup originating from the Polytechnic University of Turin, this technological application is set to revolutionise the Food and Beverage industry, and potentially other sectors too.
Strategic innovation that uses microwave technology for food packaging inspection to detect foreign bodies
Antares Vision Group, a technological partner of excellence in digitalization and innovation for companies and institutions with a complete ecosystem of technologies to guarantee product quality (inspection systems and machines) and product traceability along the supply chain (from raw materials to production, from distribution to the consumer) through integrated data management, confirms the development of a strategic innovation that uses microwave technology to detect foreign bodies in packaged products, which can therefore also be applied to industrial sectors. A group of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Turin began developing the project in 2018, and it is now moving forward with Wavision, a startup that was set up to continue working on the project and ensure industrialisation.
Antares Vision Group joined the project on microwave technology for food packaging through FT System, leader in quality inspection systems in Food and Beverage. The project saw the collaboration of several players who guaranteed the sustainability since the early stages of development: the Polytechnic University of Turin for the technological study, FT SYSTEM (today as Antares Vision Group), first as a technological partner and then as a majority shareholder of Wavision, and Vertis SGR (with Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer) – fund dedicated to promoting the technology transfer of the best Deep Tech projects coming from the best Italian universities.
Innovative inspection machines for the food and beverage industry
Antares Vision Group will be using the sensors that Wavision has developed to design a range of innovative inspection machines to be used in the Food and Beverage industry (and potentially in other sectors), which can detect physical contaminants, thus overcoming the limitations of currently used inspection equipment such as X-rays and Metal Detectors. In fact, these are not always efficient when physical contaminants have a similar density to that of the product containing them, or when they are too small to be detected.
By exploiting the various dielectric properties of materials, microwave technology can determine whether foreign bodies are present in creams, semi-liquids and liquids, especially when it comes to transparent physical contaminants such as plastic or glass. With this type of inspection, the requirements of large-scale retailers can be met with greater accuracy, and in compliance with BRC, IFS or ISO 22000 standards, in order to guarantee food safety, reduce product recalls, and protect the reputation of brands.
The fact that physical contaminants may be present in packaged products is a threat to consumers’ health and safety; this entails having to deal with product recalls, which inevitably leads to substantial costs. The RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) report of 2021, the last one issued, showed that there were 4,607 alerts in Europe, of which 1,455 were deemed to pose a serious risk. Ultimately, this is also detrimental to the reputation of the manufacturer, since the relationship of trust between the brand and the consumer fizzles out.
Food safety: ready for industry the inspection technologies developed at the Turin Polytechnic University.
“After many years spent developing this application, and this is thanks to the excellent work done by the team of researchers at the Polytechnic University of Turin, we are now ready for industrial applications,” says Fabio Forestelli, Executive Board Member and General Manager Food and Beverage at AV Group. “This innovation is set to completely revolutionise food safety, as it overcomes the limitations of current inspection technologies in detecting foreign bodies, and proves that we are committed to ensuring quality and safety of products and supply chains, for companies and consumers.”
Marco Ricci, CTO and founding partner of Wavision, speaks on behalf of all researchers, and is pleased with the agreement signed with Antares Vision Group, which sets the stage for developing the technology from a commercial and industrial perspective. Working with a long-standing company such as Antares Vision Group will make it possible to optimally develop the device, turning it from a prototype developed in an academic setting to an industrial device that can considerably increase production quality standards for the group’s clients.
“Italy is country full of excellences in Deep Tech, with a centuries-old industrial and manufacturing tradition. The goal we have set has been to facilitate Tech Transfer processes of best Italian research teams, and to establish relationships with the most innovative players in industry – says Roberto Della Marina, Venture Factory Managing Partner and VERTIS SGR Operating Partner – We are sure that Antares Vision Group is the best industrial partner for the future growth of Wavision”.