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Khadambari Shanbagaraman, a research analyst from Frost and Sullivan, describes the use of wireless systems in the food and drink industry.

It is estimated that almost 50 per cent of a processed-food product price is related to packaging.

Wireless technology is helping eliminate between 25 and 50 per cent of damages caused by inefficient packaging.

Robotics employ wireless devices in applications such as palletisation, thickness measurement, sizing of the food item and controlling the robotics arm movement when loading and packing food products.

Use of wireless devices in some of these robotics applications reduces manual errors and provides flexibility in the operation.

Wireless devices are beneficial in monitoring applications such as temperature, pressure, yield, humidity, force, pH monitoring, temperature maintenance during fermentation, sterilisation and pasteurisation processes.

Employing wireless sensors in clean-in-place (CIP) monitoring has saved about USD 5000 per installation in large-scale beverage manufacturers.

Wireless sensors attached to a remote computer or a PDA can report any problem or defects in the production line.

As a result, any data relating to handling, filling and packaging can be immediately relayed to the user’s remote computer or PDA, thereby enabling instant decision making.

Wireless GPS connectivity can monitor the condition of fragile articles during transport and identify the location of the consignment.

Additional wireless applications in the food and drink industry include critical applications such as the acidity and the pH measurement in the line refractometer.

By the end of 2012, the European food and beverages industry is estimated to be about 25 per cent for the wireless market among discrete industries.

Frost and Sullivan

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