Often, established automation approaches are not suited to the food industry due to the nature of the products being handled. The University has an established track record of developing novel techniques and mechanism to address automation challenges within the food sector.
An example of this is a project, which considered automation in the preparation of Brussels sprouts. Within the processing of Brussels sprouts several tasks already have automated solutions but these require that the sprouts be fed to them in an exact and repeatable manner. To achieve this, feeding of the machines is performed manually. This work explored options for automating this product feed. A prototype machine was developed and tested using real products to align 30 sprouts per minute in the desired orientation. This was achieved by exploiting the unique way, in which a Brussels sprout rolls.