05. January 2018
Seeking opportunities for the value chain of tomorrow
Prof. Stefan Witte in an interview about the research areas of the smartFoodTechnologyOWL initiative
The initiative smartFoodTechnologyOWL is a partnership for the use of Industry 4.0 in the food industry. The partner pool is comprised of East-Westphalia-Lippe University (OWL) and other research facilities, industrial, craft and trade partners, as well as in politics and society, most of whom are located in the East-Westphalia-Lippe region. smartFoodTechnologyOWL is one of the partners of Farm&Food 2018. Prof. Stefan Witte, partnership speaker at OWL University in Lemgo, gave us an overview of the interesting research areas of the initiative.
Farm & Food: What is the goal of the smartFoodTechnologyOWL initiative?
Prof. Stefan Witte: We are aiming to achieve several goals. Our primary goal is to establish ourselves as one of the top names for research, development and innovation questions in the intelligent food technology sector in the region and particularly the Lemgo University. New products and solutions in the food sector are being developed and researched to create potential use of digitalization in the area of food technologies.
We are networking individual systems into integrated, overall value chains. This will make us able at a higher level to increase transparency for consumers, as well as sustainably strengthen the competitive position of the food industry in the region.
In which areas does digital transformation offer the largest amount of potential for the food industry?
We have identified five areas. Firstly, the increase of quality assurance during production processes and thereby real-time quality control. Secondly, we see potential in the reduction of food waste through improved production procedures and more product information. Thirdly, through customized products. We are also moving increasingly towards customization in the nutrition sector – it is a big challenge to illustrate this in production.
Resource and raw material consumption are further, important topics where digitalization can assist. Finally, the creation of new solution approaches that enable increasing transparency, traceability and quality regulation.
Why is Farm & Food 4.0 so important and what do you expect from your participation?
We perceive the Farm&Food 4.0 motto as being about revolution and therefore about searching for chances for the value chain of tomorrow. This is identical with SmartFoodTechnologyOWL’s approach. It is about creating possibilities for digitalization throughout the whole process chain. This is the focus topic of our partnership, and this is why we find it very fitting.
What is the biggest challenge that companies have to confront considering the increase in digitalization?
It is all about exploiting the potential for digitalization in respective production processes and products – in consideration of economic and ecological responsibility.