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Headwall and USDA Sign Research and Development Agreement

January 5, 2009

Working with the Agricultural Research Service, the company will develop and deploy spectral-imaging in-line processing instrumentation for food inspection and safety applications.


Fitchburg, MA -- Headwall Photonics announced the formation of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the USDA Agricultural Research Service to develop and deploy spectral imaging solutions for in-line processing of poultry, fruit, vegetables, and other food products. Headwall, a leading provider of spectral imaging solutions for commercial and defense-related applications, was selected to develop instrumentation for food processing and food safety applications. These applications areas are viewed as strategic technology areas for the USDA as food safety and food quality have been prioritized as areas of public concern.

"In-line spectral imaging holds tremendous potential for the agricultural sector and is a key enabling technology," stated Dr. Moon Kim, Senior Scientist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. "Our CRADA agreement with Headwall Photonics calls for the optimization of spectral imaging-based, on-line inspection systems for a range of commercial applications".

Headwall's Hyperspec imaging sensors have already been deployed for in-line evaluation of poultry wholesomeness. This critical application requires exceptional imaging performance—both spatially and spectrally—in a high throughput environment, where 150 birds per minute are inspected on the processing line. The Hyperspec and Raman Explorer spectral imaging platforms provide the spectral capabilities necessary to provide in-line processing for high-volume inspection of agricultural and food products and other process industries.

According to David Bannon, Chief Executive Officer of Headwall Photonics, "The achievements as well as the application expertise of the ARS team offer a great opportunity for collaboration and development. The deployment of Headwall's Hyperspec and Raman imaging sensors for in-line analysis holds considerable value for commercial customers in many markets. These customers require more real-time information regarding their processes in order to obtain greater control over their final product."

With increasing frequency, there are numerous food recalls and safety bulletins issued regarding food contamination. Headwall's spectral imaging sensors can be tuned for the detection of different materials, additives, or contaminants. Reliable in-line food-safety and foodquality instrumentation represents a very critical need throughout the industry. "Sensors for spectral analysis, like those provided by Headwall Photonics, utilize reflected light to detect contamination in food. These instruments represent a leap forward in sensitivity while being smaller and less expensive than ever before" stated Peter Hallett, Manager of Industry Relations at SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

About Headwall
Headwall Photonics is a leading designer and manufacturer of imaging spectrometers and spectral instrumentation for industrial, commercial, and government markets. Headwall's high-performance spectrometers, spectral engines, and holographic diffraction gratings have been selected by OEM and end-user customers around the world for use in critical application environments. As a pioneer in the development of innovative spectrographs and imaging spectrometers based on optical technologies, Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of patented spectral instrumentation customized for application-specific performance. Headwall Photonics was formed in 2003 as the result of a management buy-out from Agilent Technologies.


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