- Hugo Walker
Rakusen’s provides £600k grant in digitalisation and sustainability quest
The University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering, and Sheffield Hallam’s National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) have received £618k in funding from Rakusen’s.
The funding is intended to assist in innovations in digitalisation and sustainability for Rakusen’s, the British kosher food manufacturer. Rakusen’s is attempting to reduce energy consumption by 60% by developing digital solutions.
AI and other technologies will be harnessed to update and modernise Rakusen’s traditional techniques within a company that has been operating since 1900. Professor Martin Howarth, the director of NCEFE, commented:
"Working with Rakusen’s and their material suppliers, we will use AI techniques to deliver new, highly efficient and low energy processing techniques to improve the consistency and sustainability of its traditional baked products using ingredients from the local region."
Dr Savas Konur, a computer scientist at the University of Bradford, commented on the "interdisciplinary" nature of the project which draws upon a mixture of technological science, sustainability and food science:
"We are delighted to work on this highly interdisciplinary project that addresses very specific technological challenges resulting from transforming a traditional food manufacturer to an efficient enterprise.
We will fully utilise digital technologies, including Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as food science to minimise its carbon footprint and maximise its capacity without the need to change the existing legacy machinery and lose its ‘heritage’ identity."
Rakusen’s adoption of digitisation and automation come at a time when many food manufacturers are similarly turning to Industry 4.0 in order to foster sustainability and resilience.