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October 2, 2003
 News

Engineering to partner with private firm
Making food safe

By Michelle Osmond
Baader-Canpolar Inc. (BCI) of St. John’s will receive $2.9 million to develop advanced food inspection systems based on machine vision. It is currently finalizing field-testing of its INSPEKTOR 820 system, which incorporates x- ray technology with machine vision for the fish processing industry. Total value of the project: $5.8 million.

Headquartered in St. John’s, Baader-Canpolar Inc. (BCI) is a joint venture of Canpolar East of St. John’s and Baader Canada Inc. (part of the Baader Group, Germany). BCI specializes in the development of advanced food inspection systems based on machine vision (i.e. intelligent systems). It is currently finalizing field-testing of its INSPEKTOR 820 inspection system for the fish processing industry; this new system incorporates X-ray technology with machine vision. BCI works closely with Intelligent Systems Solutions (iSYS) of St. John’s, which specializes in intelligent systems research.

BCI’s core inspection technology, INSPEKTOR 820, automatically detects defects in fish fillets in a moving production line. Current detection level for some defects is equivalent to human eye. The industry trend is moving to higher detection levels pushed by worldwide competitive pressures for cost efficiencies and demands from the fast food industry. This will require food inspection systems to function beyond the human eye equivalent.

The project will enable BCI to make technical advancements to its core inspection technology through a combination of improved imaging techniques, integration of X-ray and enhanced software analysis. The project will take a multi- spectral approach to food inspection to integrate X-ray technology with machine vision, requiring a data fusion and hardware configuration that is capable of operating both on land and at sea. While the initial focus will be on the fishing industry, technical specifications will be designed so that the technology can be used in other food sectors. The project also includes the establishment of an Industrial Research Chair in multi-spectral technology at Memorial University.

The project, with an estimated total cost of $5.8 million, will receive up to $2.9 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over a four-year period. As a result of the AIF investment, the proponent anticipates leveraging the remaining $2.9 million from other sources.

 

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Next issue: October 16, 2003

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