Automatic on-line grain control system

Thanks to a funding of the Apulia Region, as part as POR Puglia ERDF 2014-2020, Sub Action 1.4B, RAM Elettronica s.r.l. of Andria as a leader, with a team of researches of Foggia University, experts in Food Technology, is experimenting with the prototyping of an automatic on-line grain control system. This project is called “Automatic Grain Control System” and bears the acronym S.A.Con.Gra. The project tries to offer a solution that meets the needs of the customers, with particular reference to industrial automation icreasingly in line with IoT paradigm, driver of Industry 4.0.

The structure and composition of the grain are decisive factors for its use in the industrial procesess of milling, bread making, pasta making, malting and brewing. For this reason it is necessary to find innovative technological solutions capable of identifying the quality of raw material used for subsequent industrial processing, ensuring its traceability and food safety aspects.
So the project, has the aim to suggest a non-destructive system, fast and able to carry out grain screening to define what is their best use destination.

The proposed solution is based on the use of FT-NIR spectroscopy which will allow to determine directly on the grain the visco-elastographic parameters of the flour that affect the finished product properties.The NIR vibrational spectroscopy turned out to be the winning key of the planning quality because, through the absorption spectra related to the ties of functional groups present in the grain protein structure, it allows to evaluate the protein composition and the secondary structure of gluten proteins, that is possibile to combine with the finished product functionality both from a technological and organoleptic point of view, allowing to measure the grain’s aptitude for pastification too.

The opportunity to customize the existing protoype, will allow to define, precisely, also the real costs of the product/service that RAM wants to realize. In this way it will be possible to plan a real and concrete technical/economic offer towards the national and international market and therefore to develop a tangible business opportunity resulting from a research activity.