The iProcess project – possibilities for full traceability of all cattle hides processed through Norilia Nordic's system back to point of origin

In many product categories, traceability is becoming more and more important. Hides are no exception. In the recently finished "iProcess" research project, methods for providing full traceability of Norilia Nordic's hides throughout the value chain, all the way to the end-user, have been tested.

Norilia Nordic has good traceability of hides from the farm, through processing, and to the tanneries. However, currently there are no methods for traceability that allow tracing of individual hides through the tanning process, all the way to the end-user of the finished leather product.

Consumers show more and more interest in traceability related to country of origin, sustainability, animal welfare and so on, but today the options are limited. The consumer must rely on information provided by the brand on the final product.

The iProcess project allowed for testing different methods of traceability of hides through the tanning process. Dot peening, laser etching, and RFID tagging were applied, and the readability of these methods after tanning was evaluated. The only traceability method that survived the tanning process was laser etching. The results show that for the moment, the tanning process remains a bottleneck in providing full traceability of individual hides through the value chain. However, internationally, there are interesting developments regarding the use of DNA technology to trace individual animals throughout the meat value chain, and we are following these developments.

Norilia Nordic keeps good track of hides from the farm to downstream customers with our existing traceability system, based on data transfer from the ear tag to a barcode. Through the iProcess project, we have verified that RFID technology provides more reliable traceability and paves the way for a higher level of automation. We also got promising results from laser etching, which we will keep on testing, in collaboration with our customers and field scientists.

iProcess is a recently finished research project, led by Sintef Ocean and funded by the Norwegian Research Council. This project involved many Norwegian and international research and industry partners. The research focused on sensor technology, imaging techniques, big data and value chains, and the possibilities of food innovations. Norilia participated in two activities on sensory technology. The hide traceability test was in collaboration with Sintef Ocean and RFID solutions.

Read more about the project here

The hide paper from the iProcess research project is available online (open access) here