Interview with Prof. Christoph Würsch, Institute for Computational Engineering, NTB Buchs
What does your project intend and in which phase was the project before it became an InnoSuisse project?
Mr. Rudenz Egli, owner and CEO of the company, came directly to the Institute for Energy Systems IES of NTB Buchs with the idea for an improved, more stable cooling circuit for the heat exchangers. In discussion with Dr. Peter Braun from Swiss FoodResearch and Prof. Erich Windhab from the Institute of Food Sciences at ETH Zurich, the project idea for an innovation project at CTI was developed with the aim of optimising the overall process. In our opinion, the result was a very successful innovation project between Egli AG, ETHZ and NTB Buchs.
What motivated you (or the project team) to work with Swiss Food Research?
FoodTech is a very innovative, current field of research - especially in Switzerland. For this reason, we decided to become a member of Swiss Food Research as an NTB. Many areas of system technology can contribute to optimizing processes or developing new products or components. We want to enter this market. We benefit from Swiss Food Research's network through initial contacts with potential customers, our consulting expertise and ideas for new projects.
Which research questions and with which partners (research institutes, industry, others) were answered?
Is it possible to further improve the cooling rates of scraped heat exchangers that have been optimised for 50 years? Is it possible to model the crystallization process of the fats inside the scraped heat exchangers and use it as a real-time process model for process control? The answer is twice yes. The disadvantage is that the process parameters for each material system have to be recorded empirically for the first time (parameter identification).
How did the collaboration with Swiss Food Research affect the project and what further developments/results can be traced back to it?
Swiss Food Research networked us with the best partner who could provide the missing know-how in the field of fat analysis and fat crystallization, the Institute for Food Sciences of Prof. Erich Windhab of ETHZ. Thanks to the possibilities of at-line and in-line analysis of the viscosity and solids content of margarine, the process model was validated in the first place.