Skip to content

Knowledge Transfer Partnership project transforms food company into technology driven enterprise.

Dr Savas Konur, Lecturer in Computer Science, worked with Rakusens Ltd, a Leeds based kosher food manufacturer, on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The project, rated outstanding by Innovate UK, transformed production knowledge into a smart manufacturing process using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud Computing and Industrial Internet of Things to produce consistent quality food products.

The company, a very traditional business with a long and cherished history, was experiencing large variations in product quality, taste and texture. Product lines were technically identical but switching products between lines created inconsistencies, making it impossible to have a flexible planning process that allowed the company to reach its ‘real’ capacity opportunity. 

The Computing Enterprise Centre at the University of Bradford along with the KTP Associate, Dr Yang Lan, developed an intelligent process control system that collects live data and monitors the production process using prediction models to achieve the product consistency.  This smart production approach has transformed the company into a technology driven enterprise and allowed Rakusens to move over to the latest technology without the need to change their traditional machinery. By doing this, they have preserved the manufacturing standards required of kosher tradition alongside expanding their production capacity.

Photgraph of a range of boxed foods sold by Rakusens Ltd

Rakusens product range.

“By establishing a data driven transparency to managing the production process Rakusens can now deliver an expansion strategy based on production scale up while preserving unique brand quality and taste, address a growing demand for healthy eating in kosher, vegan/vegetarian and gluten free markets, while mitigating the risks of losing tacit knowledge residing in the experience of long standing and skilled employees.” Andrew Simpson, Managing Director, Rakusens UK

The project has not only significantly improved the product quality and consistency between production lines, but also led to a culture change within the company.  The workforce from shop floor level upwards has begun a journey towards full automation.

The company has been able to step up its longer term strategy for transferring the business proportion towards multiple retail and large consumer based export markets such as USA and has made significant savings in energy use.