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CHOPIN Technologies inaugurates the AETC’s technical seminar series
We spoke with Arnaud Dubat, Director of Business Development for CHOPIN Technologies, who will participate as a speaker in the seminar entitled “The laboratory as a data source for making decisions”, which is organized by AETC and will take place on May 8th at Meeting Point Agrifood.
AETC.- What motivated CHOPIN Technologies to participate in the seminar series, “The laboratory as a data source for making decisions”?
AD.- The primary reason is that our friends at the AETC invited us, for which we first of all wish to thank the association for offering us this opportunity. We really liked the idea of being able to talk about our devices in a far more technical, as opposed to commercial, manner. Talking about a device “in its natural environment”, speaking clearly about its capabilities and limits, its key points...about everything that affects the quality of the result. Targeting all the external factors that can affect or change the result and discussing this with users, seemed to us, an opportunity that we needed to take advantage of.
AETC.- What practical use could this seminar have, since it relates to such a generalized test in Spain?
AD.- Yes, the Alveograph is a very widespread test in Spain, indeed. As a matter of fact, the history of the alveograph’s international development started with France, Spain and Italy. However, all markets are important, and the close ones even more so. It is always useful to have discussions with users and listening to their suggestions has always served to make progress leading up to the creation of the new alveograph. Hence, any occasion, that lets us speak with experienced users, is highly valuable. These discussions also serve to provide information about CHOPIN’s novelties, which can be related to the device itself and also to new protocols, new applications and new services. In spite of the fact that there are many sources of information nowadays, I continue to firmly believe that nothing is more effective than a direct discussion.
AETC.- What does CHOPIN Technologies specialize in? Which countries do you distribute your products to? Who is your supplier in Spain?
AD.- CHOPIN Technologies has a presence all over the world, thanks to a network of more than 55 distributors. Our historical partner in Spain is Consultores Cerealistas. We specialize in creating, manufacturing and marketing devices for measuring the quality of cereals and derivatives, which means that we are true experts in the matter. We actively participate in different standardization bodies (ISO, CEN, ICC, AACC...), which helps us to better understand and manage aspects such as the repeatability and reproducibility of results. Furthermore, we invested an average of 10% of our annual earnings into R+D, which is why we are always innovating in products and services, not because we find it fun but because it is what users need. At a time in which we see more and more copycats emerging daily, we stick to our innovative strategy and maintain complete control of production (100% made in France).
AETC.- Which advantages does the new Alveograph offer over the traditional ones? Are the obtained results comparable?
AD.- I will answer the second question first. Yes, the results will be completely the same on any device that is well-operated and with adequate maintenance. We just conducted a study of the BIPEA circuit results over a year, and the Alveolab population cannot be distinguished within the total population. Since we placed a lot of innovation into the bubble part, we know that having results comparable with existing units was obligatory for us.
The main advantage of the Alveolab is the ability to completely control the temperature and humidity conditions around the bubble. We knew that this was one of the most important sources of variability among the laboratories. We have included an automated water addition system, new resting platelets and dough cutters, ..., in order to simplify the analysis.
The Alveolab is also designed to be adapted to new challenges. Many parameters can be changed (hydration level, times, speeds, air flows...) this allow us to adapt protocols to new wheats, flour blends and more.
We firmly believe that the flours from the latter part of the XXI century will not be analyzed like those from the first part of the XX century, when the Alveograph was born. The Alveolab is already designed and ready to be tailored to this new paradigm.
AETC.- Now that whole wheat and other cereals are seeing increased use, are there Alveograph protocols to characterize the rheological properties of these flours?
AD.-This perfectly illustrates what I said before. We have conducted various tests with previous Alveograph models, but they were very limited in their adaptation capabilities and an adequate solution was never achieved. Currently, we are working on a holistic solution for analyzing whole wheat flours (including a protocol for creating said flours in a standardized manner at the laboratory level), and we are making progress. I cannot say any more until I have all the results, but we are very optimistic that we can achieve this.
This is part of our strategy to forge ahead of new trends (“ancient grains”, gluten-free doughs, sprouted grains, legumes...). We work with companies that are interested in these topics, and we try to develop solutions that will serve them in the near future.
AETC.- Apart from Álveolab, which other new products do you guys propose? What are their functions?
AD.-The Mixolab is an ideal complement to the Alveograph because it measures the dough’s behavior while it is being kneaded and heated, and it is a true hit in the industry; the SDmatic is used to quickly measure the damaged starch and is also a major success in milling; the RheoF4 , which measures the dough during fermentation, has garnered success in the milling and baking industries. The laboratory mills, the new LabMill and most recently the CHOPIN-SRC , which measures the functionality of the flours (pentosans, damaged starch, glutenins...), is also of great interest.
These innovations face a particular level of conservatism on the part of users. I am not complaining about that, I perfectly understand the situation, the practice and the specifications that have been established and accepted for many years. Change is not easy and, why change?
I think that users who work in the “new products” department, where tomorrow’s products are developed, should not settle for solutions that were developed 70 years ago. They should try new things, new protocols, because perhaps modern challenges cannot be highlighted without new tools. In this respect, CHOPIN has also been innovative by establishing a team of scientists dedicated to helping our users.
Users of quality control services often look for consistency; consistently keeping a substance at the same characteristics involves “controlling quality”. My vision is that if quality control allows for 100% certainty, that accepted things work and rejected things are truly bad, then nothing needs to be changed. However, my experience has shown me that, in spite of the fact that there are checks in place, production is not always a “cakewalk”. If quality control cannot be implemented, I at least think it is appropriate to try new solutions and not be afraid to innovate. At first, the new check can be internal before becoming something more official, once the benefits have been quantified.
If innovation for its own sake, does not make sense, then it does not make much sense either to not consider new options just because “we’ve always done it that way...”. In a world that changes so quickly, I believe that being open to new options can make a difference between progress and stagnation.
AETC.- Are you interested in collaborating in future seminars? Would you propose any topics?
AD.- It would be my pleasure...we did an interesting project—which we can present—regarding the preparation of wheat before the laboratory milling, we have ongoing projects related to gluten-free products, and why not show you guys the new projects we did on whole wheats?
AETC is a non-profit organization consisting of professionals who perform their work across the entire cereal value chain. They promote and disseminate scientific and technical research through meeting forums and debate, and they protect quality throughout the entire chain: from the development of new varieties to the trends of consumers of cereal products and their nutritional qualities. www.aetc.es