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Sacmi develops electronic “noses” for foodstuff quality control

The technology of the future is already here. The potential range of applications is vast and Raytec Vision has its sights set on big opportunities in the agro-industrial field.

An electronic olfactory system to control the quality of the food that ends up on our table. This is not science-fiction: it is the latest technology to be developed by the Sacmi Group, and is soon expected to be applied at industrial level. The “electronic nose” and its applications will complement the “electronic eyes” already used in food inspection, thus extending the range of systems offered by Raytec within the agro-industrial sphere. An “electronic nose” is capable of measuring the odours of the various product components. This highly sophisticated instrument allows identification of organoleptic components and also points out the presence of any pollutants: it can determine, for example, if an olive oil is pure or not, if a wine has developed elements that will affect its taste, if a tomato sauce shows any signs of having been burnt. Raffaele Pezzoli, General Manager of Raytec Vision, is confident that “the potential range of applications for this technology is a vast one and the market is showing keen interest. Sacmi’s strategy has been to get in on this market as early as possible and to gain expertise in those functions that cannot be provided by vision systems”. Raytec Vision is based in Lemignano di Collecchio, in the province of Parma, and has 22 employees, of which ten are design engineers. In 2002 the company achieved total sales of € 5.4 million, 70% of which was accounted for by exports. Over the last eighteen months it has installed some 60 systems all over the world. Given its considerable innovation skills, the beginning of 2002 saw Raytec Vision incorporated into Sacmi&Catelli Holding, which controls several Sacmi Group food processing companies.

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