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INESC TEC in a partnership to support company in quality control

Researchers will explore ways to improve a technology for detecting moisture in cork stoppers. This device will become a vital asset in the wine sector.  

27th May 2021

The WaveCorkCal project started recently, but INESC TEC and FEUP had already collaborated with EGITRON in 2019, within the scope of the PrecisionCork project – with INESC TEC as a partner. 

According to Henrique Salgado, who led the provision of services within the scope of PrecisionCork, researchers developed a microwave resonant cavity. By inserting the stopper into the device and using microwaves, it becomes possible to detect the frequency and magnitude deviation of the cavity’s resonance, thus obtaining an estimate of the stopper’s moisture, with relative precision. The technology is currently being marketed by EGITRON, in order to fulfil a market need.

“When bottling wine, it is necessary to carry out the quality control of the cork stopper, namely concerning the percentage of moisture in the cork, which must be between 4% and 9%. There is a piece of equipment on the market that already allows measuring humidity in a very simple way, but this method is very imprecise and prejudicial to corks”, added Henrique Salgado.  

In 2021, EGITRON decided to improve an important element of the microwave resonant cavity: calibration. “There is a process that involves prior calibration of the cavity, which is quite time-consuming. We are currently exploring the possibility of creating an alternative method to accelerate the calibration process“, explained the researcher, head of the WaveCorkCal. 

“Although this is a small contribution to the previous project, I think it focuses on a very important aspect, which could lead to innovative results in terms of calibration.” 

The name of the project, WaveCorkCal, aggregates the three dimensions of the initiative: microwave, cork and calibration. Sofia Inácio, a PhD student at INESC TEC, and Luís Pessoa, a researcher at the Centre for Telecommunications and Multimedia (CTM), are part of the team led by Henrique Salgado. 

The WaveCorkCal project stems from a partnership between INESC TEC and FEUP-UP. 

The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this piece are associated with FEUP-UP.