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Press release

Together, Bel and CEA imagine the food plant of the future as part of three-year strategic partnership

​Engaged in an ambitious sustainable growth strategy, the Bel Group in December 2015 signed a three-year strategic collaboration agreement with CEA Tech, the technology research unit of the CEA, France's Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission. The agreement brings together Bel's unique manufacturing expertise and innovation with CEA's excellence in technological research and innovation. The purpose of the collaboration is to conduct research pertaining to the challenges of transforming industrial production by financing technical studies in various areas, such as robotics, sensors, industrial process control, and data analysis.

Published on 6 March 2017

Bel accelerates its industrial transformation and strengthens its sustainable growth model 

Bel and CEA Tech have established the conditions for launching a successful partnership based on enthusiasm, pragmatism and efficiency, while currently leading studies aimed notably at two major challenges, the sustainability and optimization of industrial production performance. 

"Our decision to choose a prestigious research organization, a leader in winning international patents, was based on the excellence of CEA Tech's engineering teams, with over 4,500 persons dedicated to serving French industry, as well as their pragmatism and their drive to implement solutions," said Hubert Mayet, General Manager of Manufacturing and Technical Operations, Research and Innovation at the Bel Group. "This partnership allows us to maintain our technological advance and competitive advantage, while contributing to our thinking about the Bel plant of the future. In particular, we want to review our production processes to develop models and to make the plant of the future a plant that is economical, high performing and innovative."

Review production processes to optimize the performance of Bel's manufacturing model

The first research phase involves projects aimed at reducing product waste, replacing carbon-based energy with renewable energy sources, cutting energy and water usage, easing the hardship of some jobs and improving work-station ergonomics. The Bel and CEA Tech R&D and Engineering teams have already identified several study projects. For example, the teams are focusing on robotic technology to imagine new processes for product gripping on production lines, sensors to optimize the pace of cleaning cycles, renewable energy sources to support production site energy migrations, and smart data processing across the production chain to further reduce scrapping. A vast array of projects is in the works to review Bel's manufacturing processes and challenges.

"Along with growers, the food industry is creating the food of tomorrow, while ensuring that the environmental impact of their activities is brought to a bare minimum," said Stephan Siebert, CEA Tech's Technological Research Director. "At the same time, product quality must be guaranteed and their industrial performance maintained. Confronted with this challenge at the heart of a rapidly evolving situation, we are proud to offer our partner multiple technological combinations that can help improve or create new products, perfect manufacturing processes and strengthen Bel's singular manufacturing model."

Based on an open innovation approach, this collaborative work offers a true opportunity for the two players to develop innovative technologies capable of optimizing manufacturing processes, further enhancing Bel's unique knowhow and ultimately leading to the construction of the food plant of the future.

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