Wine bottling process
An acoustic micro-controlled level detection system guarantees 100% of the checked bottles to be corked in a reliable way
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    15 Wines
UCME - Union des Caves des Maures et de l'Esterel - Caves de Provence was founded in 1975. It is a 41 employee, 45700 K Euros turnover company dedicated to wine bottling in Southern France. More specifically, UCME produces each year 14 million bottles of wine, exporting 10% of the production. UCME is now working under agrofood quality rules : it wants to apply for HACCP normalisation, which in turn means real time defect analysis of the filling process, required by many of the wine distributors

In the filling process, one of the key issue is to make sure in real time that each bottle is filled properly, i.e. within the regulations set forth by the French national authorities. Today, there are at least 30 types of bottles processed each year : thus the filling quality is checked by sampling, which is inaccurate and costly uncorking bottle and filling adjustment when detected at the filling plant, end user rejection when detected outside the filling plant.

The purpose of the Application Experiment has been to design, to test and to integrate a prototype filling level detection system using ultrasonic waves. This innovative system allows to detect filling defects within an accuracy compatible with market demand and for all the bottles currently in use at the bottling facility. The sensing unit is connected to the conveyor/sorter system which allows 100% of the checked bottles to be corked in a reliable way.
The duration of the AE was 8 months, with a cost of 58 K Euros (55 K Euros Fuse fundings + 3 K Euros on UCME).
The pay back period is about 22 months. The return on investment to develop the new solution prototype is anticipated around 687%
Including a budget for industrialisation and implementation of the 5 industrial units, the ROI of the overall project will be near 630%
This AE allowed to develop an innovative filling control system whose replication will be undertaken by the UCME subcontractor under a sales agreement to be signed in 2000.

UCME will use the above solution on its 5 wine bottle filling lines, in order to meet its strategic growth targets over the next 5 years : this AE demonstrated that ultrasound should provide a reliable, low cost solution for filling control level in bottling factories when using data processing and the knowledge/experience of filling line operators .
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You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided UNION DES COOPERATIVES DES MAURES ET DE L'ESTEREL (UCME) with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

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