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EP/L505213/1 - A Smart and Flexible Automation System for High Value Cake Manufacturing

Research Perspectives grant details from EPSRC portfolio

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Dr X Yan EP/L505213/1 - A Smart and Flexible Automation System for High Value Cake Manufacturing

Principal Investigator - Design Manufacture and Engineering Man, University of Strathclyde

Other Investigators

Mr GM Mair, Co InvestigatorMr GM Mair

Scheme

Technology Programme

Research Areas

Manufacturing Technologies Manufacturing Technologies

Start Date

09/2013

End Date

08/2015

Value

£295,661

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Grant Description

Summary and Description of the grant

The context within which this project takes place is that of cake production within the food manufacturing industry. The food
industry generally is worth £96.1bn to the UK economy with Food and Drink Manufacturing providing £26.4bn Gross Value
Added and employing 395,000 people, and specifically the bakery industry GVA is just under £4bn (Food Statistics
Pocketbook, 2012, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The company within which the
results of this project will be applied, is one of 9,340 food and drink manufacturing sites in the UK. The project involves the partnership of the cake manufacturing company Lightbody, the University of Strathclyde, and the automation company
Quasar.
The aim of the project is to investigate, research, and develop a new smart and flexible material handling automation
system for cakes, icing, and cake decorations. This system will comprise various sensors, software algorithms, and
mechatronic hardware in order to create a more efficient and consistent autonomous production method. A major challenge
within the project will be the creation of a novel handling and manipulation system that will be able to cope with the difficult
attributes of the cake icing and decorative materials. These can be soft, sticky, brittle, and floppy, all of these
characteristics are very difficult for automated manipulator systems to handle.
The initial benefits of this project will be to (a) the cake manufacturing company in that the project will increase its
efficiency, reduce its costs, and increase its profitability, (b) the University in that it will expand its knowledge and expertise
in this field, be able to provide knowledge exchange, and provide employment and experience for two researchers, and (c)
provide the other industrial partner with an opportunity to enhance its experience and knowledge while contributing its
existing expertise to the success of the task.
Further benefits to UK industry in gral will result from the knowledge gained from the design of the system to
manipulate the difficult to handle materials. This knowledge should have general applicability not only in the food industry
but also in areas such as clothing manufacture. The developed system will be modular such that elements of the design,
e.g. hardware, software, and sensing, will be useable by a range of companies.

Structured Data / Microdata


Grant Event Details:
Name: A Smart and Flexible Automation System for High Value Cake Manufacturing - EP/L505213/1
Start Date: 2013-09-01T00:00:00+02:00
End Date: 2015-08-31T00:00:00+02:00

Organization: University of Strathclyde

Description: The context within which this project takes place is that of cake production within the food manufacturing industry. The food industry generally is worth £96.1bn to the UK economy with Food and Drink Manufacturing providing £26.4bn Gross Value Added an ...