Development of an automated measurement system to determine mycotoxin content in wheat

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Dr. Kiss Bálint
Department of Control Engineering and Information Technology

Nowadays one of the most serious issues in food and feed sector is the mycotoxin contamination of wheat. These toxic chemicals are often mentioned not only because their harmful effects, but also the significant economic loss they cause to the European Union. The current measurement methods are considered to be obsolete and their effectiveness is highly questionable, as well. Along with these thoughts, there is a need to develop a novel system which implements innovative methods to perform the measurements, so that the farmers, as well as the European Union, could achieve a significant financial growth.

The purpose of this thesis is to design and implement the control system for a prototype mycotoxin measurement system. During the implementation of the new system, a high number of technological challenges were dealt with. Since the system will operate under harsh conditions and interfaced with many actuators simultaneously, it will be controlled by a programmable logic controller, which is ideal for this kind of tasks.

In the world of PLCs, it is important to choose the right additional modules for proper communication with the devices. To do this successfully, it is necessary to examine in details the properties of peripherals and the possibilities offered by the market. It is recommended to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the fieldbus system and the processor performance.

Since it is a newly designed system, a manual control method should be implemented first. In this way it can be verified that each part of the system meets the previously set requirements, and whether it is even possible to accomplish the plans.

When the control is fully automated, attention must be paid to several things such as high system durability, optimal resource management and as few user interrupt as possible.

After the whole control is complete, the system start-up occurs. When all the noticed errors are corrected, then we have a working prototype. The analysis of the system stated, that the objectives are achieved, that is the new sampling technique meets all the requirements. If the other technical innovations are also successfully implemented, then there is a severe chance to the mass production of the machine.


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