Objectives and Innovation

The Project aims to develop a new dry cured ham manufacturing process based on the use of predictive control modelling, and advanced meat inspection technologies.

Specific objectives

The Project aims to develop a new dry cured ham manufacturing process based on the use of predictive control modelling, and advanced meat inspection technologies. Besides, we aim to adapt it to the particular cases of the production of Serrano ham in Spain and Parma ham in Italy, and to seek synergies between these two production processes to define improvements. Globally.

  1. To improve the homogeneity of the final product by reducing the dispersion of the salt content within ±0.3% around the average content ;
  2. To minimise manufacturing costs related to weight losses, by reducing excessive weight losses by at least 1%
  3. To minimize textural defects in the final product by removing raw matter with PSE properties, an unsuitable lean/fat ratio, and controlling salt uptake.
  1. To implement a piece by piece traceability system, based on barcode tags;
  2. To integrate an optical meat in spection system to monitor WHC in single hams before processing;
  3. To implement a magnetic induction scanner in processing lines to monitor fat/lean ratio and salt content in ham, before and after salting stages;
  4. To integrate weight inspection modules, to monitor weight losses during drying; (5) to integrate these modules with the traceability system, and to produce a dataset to be used in the development of predictive control models;
  5. To develop and implement a Predictive Control Software to define the most suitable processing conditions for each ham;
  6. To quantitatively assess the benefits of the new manufacturing process, and to validate the HamTech technology;
  7. To communicate the Project results to different audiences, including the meat processing sector;
  8. To define an exploitation and IPR management plan.

Innovation current state of the art

In the frame of this project, and based on the knowhow acquired in a previous European Research Project (www.procured.eu), we aim to develop an innovative dry cured ham manufacturing process, and to integrate it at an industrial scale. The proposed process is based on the implementation of a predictive control system, which will optimize the salting and drying conditions, according to the needs of single hams. The system will rely on inline ham inspection technologies, which have been developed in the very recent years, in close collaboration with the parties involved in this Project. By combining these technologies with a piece by piece traceability system, we aim to score key properties of each individual ham, before, during and at the end of the manufacturing process. The data generated will be used to develop a predictive control system, by which manage main process parameters such as the amount of salt added at the first/second salting stage or salting time of the first/second stage according to ham type (Parma or Serrano ham).