News Release

University of Tartu to help Nõo Meat Factory use artificial intelligence in production

Business Announcement

Estonian Research Council

CEO of Nõo Meat Factory


CEO of Nõo Meat Factory

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Credit: Vallo Kruuser

As the first company in the Estonian food industry, Nõo Meat Factory, together with the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu, will start testing novel artificial intelligence and robotics solutions that will help optimise production and improve product quality control.

The cooperation project between the Nõo Meat Factory and the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu was selected in the AI & Robotics Estonia (AIRE) partner network. Together, possibilities for using artificial intelligence to perform quality control on the production line will be identified. Participation in a demonstration project will allow manufacturing companies to test artificial intelligence and robotics solutions before investing, thereby encouraging further investment in the technology. Project results are expected by the end of the year.

"For the food industry, the digitalisation of production is inevitable if we want to expand into foreign markets, optimise costs and make production more efficient," said Ragnar Loova, CEO of Nõo Meat Factory, about the desire to test artificial intelligence. According to him, Nõo Meat Factory has invested more and more in innovation and automation in recent years to come up with innovative products and more sustainable packaging. This has been driven by the economic situation, environmental requirements and consumer opportunities and expectations.

According to Ardi Tampuu, Lecturer of Artifical Intelligence at the Institute of Computer Science, machine learning technologies are mature enough to be used in industry to monitor processes and detect errors. "I believe that thanks to open-source models, machine learning solutions will soon be as accessible as websites. It is just a matter of slightly adapting existing tools based on use cases and packaging them correctly for the user," said Tampuu. According to him, the demo project is a good way to demonstrate the availability of the technology.

AI & Robotics Estonia or AIRE is co-funded by the EU Digital Europe Programme and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Nõo Meat Factory is the largest and most innovative meat factory based on domestic capital. The company employs more than 200 people, making it one of the most important employers and promoters of local community life in South Estonia. In 2021, Nõo Meat Factory received the title of Family Business of the Year at the Estonian Best Companies competition organised by Enterprise Estonia, the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Estonian Employers’ Confederation.

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