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REF NO.: 157

SUBJECT: New industrial research chair brings help for the fishing industry
DATE: Jan. 20, 2005

Baader-Canpolar Inc. is partnering with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to establish an Industrial Research Chair for Automated Food Inspection. The chair will support the province’s traditional fishing industry as well as other international food inspection applications, such as poultry and red meat, through the application of advanced machine vision technology. The research will apply machine vision to the inspection of biological materials – materials that are inherently variable in consistency and, therefore, pose major technical challenges. When complete, the result will mean safer food, a benefit for public health around the world.

Paul Hearn, an alumnus of the Faculty of Engineering and chief operating officer of Baader-Canpolar, says the establishment of this chair is somewhat historic. “As far as I know this is the first time in the history of the engineering faculty that a research chair will focus on research and development to advance fish processing technology. We see significant amounts of research for the offshore oil and other ocean industries and we see the fish processing industry as no less important in terms of requiring sustained engineering research.”

“The area of machine vision is only about 20 years young and most of the inspection applications that we are targeting are quite difficult to automate and therefore are still carried out by human inspectors,” adds Mr. Hearn. “To be successful we will have to invent completely new technological solutions and software techniques and we feel that the Faculty of Engineering at Memorial will play a vital role in that.”

“We are happy to partner in the establishment of the chair because innovative research and development helps make the Atlantic region more competitive in the global economy,” said Joseph McGuire, minister responsible for ACOA. “Funding through the Atlantic Innovation Fund will support the chair and allow Memorial’s scientists, engineers and senior students to develop leading edge technologies to support advanced food inspection techniques.”

Dr. Ray Gosine, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, says the industrial research chair will be a valuable addition to both the university and the community. “Engineering is about innovative technology and finding solutions, and we are particularly interested to undertake innovative research and development that is relevant to industries in Newfoundland and Labrador. The fishing industry has always been vital to the province’s economy and culture and this research will only serve to ensure the competitiveness of companies like Baader-Canpolar which directly supports innovation in our industry.”

The proposed budget for the chair, which will support the salary of a new research faculty member and the stipends for graduate students and equipment, is estimated at $1.2 million. ACOA will fund $600,000 through the Atlantic Innovation Fund, and the remainder of the funding will come from Baader-Canpolar, Memorial University and other national funding sources.

Baader-Canpolar Inc. of St. John’s is a member of the Baader Group in Germany and specializes in automated machine vision inspection machinery and software for the food processing industry. Baader-Canpolar Inc. is a joint venture between Canpolar East Inc. of St. John’sand Baader Canada Ltd.

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