APRIL Launches AI-based Vision System

Leading food tech OAL has announced the formal launch of the artificial intelligence-based vision system, APRIL Eye, for date code verification.

The system removes the operator from the date code verification process, achieving full automation to reduce the risk of product recalls and emergency product withdrawals (EPWs) caused by human error on packaging lines. Reaching speeds of over 300 packs a minute, APRIL Eye can make a significant improvement to processes, safety, quality and efficiency and deliver cost savings to food and beverage manufacturers on their packaging lines.

By combining machine learning and artificial intelligence, APRIL Eye transforms the traditional date code verification process, which relies on operators to check the date code is printed correctly. APRIL Eye removes the human error inherent in these repetitive tasks.

APRIL Eye stemmed from an initiative led by a large retailer to eliminate food waste in the supply chain by preventing human error. Incorrect date codes and packaging was found to be one of the largest sources of food waste; a GBP60-80 million problem (excluding energy and environmental impact). OAL spearheaded the development as part of its Food Manufacturing Digitalisation Strategy, supported by the University of Lincoln and Innovate UK grant funding, designed to investigate how artificial intelligence could revolutionise this key area of the food manufacturing process. The University of Lincoln put together a team of global experts in AI, including Professor Stefanos Kollias, the founding professor of machine learning, to develop the APRIL Eye solution.

Wayne Johnson, OAL connected director, comments: “Having experienced the pain of EPWs and product recalls first-hand, I was determined to develop a product that would offer food and beverage manufacturers a bullet-proof solution to avoid problems linked to label and date code verification. We’ve completely turned vision systems on their head, allowing manufacturers to move to unmanned production, improve traceability and reduce costs across the board. APRIL Eye gives them the security they need to do this as it really is a fail-safe solution.”

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