The food industry is facing a broad range of innovation and optimisation challenges in the areas of product development, process design, scale-up, processing and food safety. The complexity of food products and production processes and the need to operate in a global market play an important role. Innovation and optimisation challenges are typically addressed case by case using money and time consuming trial-and-error methods. A more efficient way to speed up innovations, optimise food production and improve product quality is to develop and deploy predictive, mechanistic models that capture essential process-product interaction knowledge. At NIZO we have been developing model based solution for the food industry since the 70’s, ranging from simplified models for initial estimations, to full digital twins with PLC feedback. 

predictive modelling

To streamline and accelerate the development, calibration and deployment of models in the food industry, SPSE (Siemens Process Systems Enterprise Ltd.) and NIZO initiated the Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Food Product and Process Modelling. The CoE also serves as a single point service for comprehensive, advanced food product-process modelling combined with laboratory scale tools and semi-industrial scale pilot facilities to generate required data for model development and validation. 

CoE Software & Services:

  • Licensing
  • Training and workshops
  • Model-based R&D and Engineering decision support
  • Custom model development
  • Equipment and/or material characterisation
  • Trouble shooting and optimization
  • Process design and scale-up
  • Model based control

gPROMS Food Processing Model Library

A comprehensive food product and process modelling environment is not possible without incorporating essential process-product interactions in the models. In other words, effects of process conditions and product parameters on yield, product quality and safety need to be included. Over the past 35 years NIZO has developed such process-product interaction models for a wide range of processes including heat treatment, membrane separation, falling film evaporation, spray drying and cheese manufacturing. In close collaboration with an industrial advisory board (FrieslandCampina, Danone, Nestlé and Abbott) these models are currently being integrated in SPSE’s gPROMS FormulatedProducts based on the gPROMS™ advanced process modelling platform, a powerful, equation-orientated, dynamic modelling environment made accessible through an intuitive coding language and flowsheeting interface. 

This results in a powerful food processing model library that combines industrially validated models developed by NIZO and PSE with the advanced features of the gPROMS™ platform. 

Laboratory tools

NIZO is equipped with a wide range of advanced analysis tools for physical, chemical, microbial and sensorial properties. In addition to the analysis tools, NIZO has also designed and developed a range of dedicated high throughput screening (HTS) and micro-scale systems. Using these tools large amounts of relevant data can be gathered in an efficient way. Furthermore, the micro-systems are designed to mimic their large scale equivalents such that models derived from micro-scale data can directly be extrapolated to large scale systems. 

Semi-industrial scale facilities

Besides analysies tools, HTS and micro-systems, NIZO also owns a large semi-industrial scale, food-grade production facility (Pilot Plant) with a wide range of equipment covering heat treatment, membrane separation, fermentation, hydrolysis, evaporation, drying and cheese production (see also the Virtual Tour). The flexibility and scale of the equipment makes it highly suitable not only for production trials, up-scaling and toll manufacturing, but also for model validation. 

pilot plant

Any questions?

Ben van der Deen is happy to answer all your questions.

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