Abstract: Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) such as robotics, AI and IoT are transforming manufacturing worldwide with significant productivity, efficiency and environmental sustainability benefits. This digital revolution is often labelled Industry 4.0 and at its heart is the enhanced collection and use of data. The food and drink sector has been slow to adopt IDT’s for a variety of reasons including the availability of cost effective sensing technologies, capable of operating in production environments. This presentation will discuss the use of IDTs within the important task of food factory cleaning. It will cover the benefits and challenges of deploying robots, sensors and machine learning technologies for factory cleaning tasks in addition to the ever growing importance of effective factory cleaning during a global pandemic.
Biography: Nik is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. He has a PhD in engineering and spent four years as a researcher in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds before joining Nottingham in 2014. Nik’s research is focussed on digital manufacturing within the food and drink sector and his team develops intelligent sensor technologies to tackle some of the biggest challenges around sustainability, food safety, hygiene and productivity. A focus of Nik’s research is developing sensor and data analysis methods that work effectively in challenging food production environments and can be integrated with other key industrial digital technologies such as AI, Robotics and the Industrial Internet of Things. Nik has led projects investigating how sensors and data analytics can be used to reduce the cost and environmental impact of industrial cleaning processes and unit operations such as fermentation and mixing. Nik is currently a member of the EPSRC Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research, on the Food Standards Agency register of experts and a Co-Investigator on the EPSRC digital manufacturing network: Connected Everything 2.