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Automation Technology

In the future, food processing plants will turn to automation technologies even more, both to contain costs and to improve quality. At Georgia Tech, a number of automation technologies are already being developed and evaluated in the laboratory and in the field.
Georgia Tech researchers are doing groundbreaking work in robotics technology, developing prototype systems that meet the special needs of the food-processing industry. The researchers also have been among the first to study and develop computer-vision systems for the industry; work in this area dates back to the early 1980s.
Advanced Imaging Technologies
Intelligent Live Product Transfer System
Intelligent Cutting and Handling System
Robotics for Poultry Processing


Future environmental regulations will be even more stringent and waste-treatment costs will rise. Food processors will need to find new, more effective methods for reducing waste and for treating, managing, and disposing of wastewater. Georgia Tech has responded to this situation with a strong program in waste-management research.
Recent efforts have included developing advanced wastewater treatment methods that minimize the volume of solid byproducts generated; finding ways to improve the performance of existing wastewater treatment systems; and examining alternative, cost-effective approaches to limit nutrient levels in waste streams and to control odor emissions.
One current focus is a study of innovative biological wastewater treatment technologies; the research team has worked in this area since the late 1970s.
In the area of environmental regulation, food processors are facing ever expanding permit-filing requirements and other procedures not uniquely developed for the industry. Georgia Tech researchers are dedicated to helping the industry understand and comply with changing regulations.
Advanced Environmental Systems

Food Safety

The food processing industry's concern for the safety and quality of food products continues to garner attention. Plant laboratories are seeking rapid microbial analysis capability to check food products for possible contamination before they exit processing operations.
At Georgia Tech, researchers have evaluated improved methods for on-line product sampling. They also are working on rapidly analyzing samples for microorganisms. To improve analysis techniques, engineers are developing a unique biosensor that uses planar-integrated optics and laser technology. Researchers believe this biosensor will provide speed advantages that should far surpass current, commercially available detection techniques.
Interferometric Sensor Technologies

Information Technology

Georgia Tech's information technologies research program focuses on developing and adapting computer technologies to provide methods of retrieving and presenting information in industry processes.
Advanced Information Technology Systems

Industry Outreach

An important part of Georgia Tech's food processing research program is bringing tomorrow's technology to the industry today. This means passing on new information regarding technological developments and changing regulatory conditions. To provide timely information, a variety of publications are produced, including a poultry newsletter, PoultryTech; the ATRP program brochure; technical fact sheets on important topics; final project reports; and an Annual Report. GTRI also hosts the National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry each year.
Georgia Tech engineers also present workshops on a range of topics each year, including maintenance improvement, environmental issues, and plant safety. The researchers also host a number of tours each year for industry and school groups.
A critical part of Georgia Tech's outreach program is the one-on-one technical assistance the researchers provide to companies in Georgia. This gives food processing companies immediate access to the latest research developments while helping engineers to better understand current challenges facing the industry.
Technical Assistance, Outreach, and Technology Transfer

The Food Processing Technology Division (FPTD) is a division of the Georgia Tech Research Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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