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Computer aided design and engineering of agrofood processes



About us

CADcracker is embedded in the KU Leuven division MeBioS (Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors). The group has a proven track record and leading expertise in computer aided design and engineering (CADE) for optimizing existing and novel agrofood products and processes. The approaches aim to maximize food quality while minimizing costs and environmental impact. CADcracker has more than 10 years of experience in industrially oriented research and development.


Phytofar Institute PRIZE WINNER 2017

We are honoured by the acknowledgement of our efforts to help the horticultural sector with sustainable techniques that improve food quality and safety.

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CADcracker initiates and coordinates strategic and applied research benefiting stakeholders in the agrofood sector. CADcracker closely collaborates with the knowledge and technology transfer office (TTO) of KU Leuven ( to assist the protection and licensing of intellectual property and valorization of new technologies.


RESEARCH: applying modelling to UNDERSTAND AGROFood

Our research aims to improve -through modelling and simulation- understanding of the dynamics of agrofood product biology, structure and quality as affected by conditions and processing along the supply chain from field to consumer.


CADcrackers wants to facilitate the interaction and collaboration between researchers and stakeholders in the agrofood chain on innovative computational solutions to understand, design, optimize and control processes and products in the agrofood chain.


By bringing together teams of KU Leuven and external experts, CADcracker builds strong alliances for innovations in the agrofood chain both at national and international level. To this end, we offer access to a network of top R&D experts in field. CADcracker assists in initiation, coordination and technology transfer of collaborations, and helps to seek funding opportunities and routes for exploitation.


The core of CADcrakcer are dedicated computational tools for design and engineering of agrofood processes and novel technologies. The simulations tools are based on mathematical models that describe and predict the behavior of the product accurately. Models may operate from the field scale down to the nanometer scale and include precise models for biochemical pathways and their intricate regulation, as well as quality kinetics. The models are used to

  • increase knowledge about changes of products in unit processes and chains
  • optimize process conditions
  • create new designs and products
  • develop new supply chain management systems
  • design new devices to measure, monitor and control quality changes of the product

These models are applied to different steps and across the agrofood chain, from the field (e.g. to optimize fruit quality in orchards) to the consumer (e.g. to develop new concepts for 3D food printing).



CADcrackers uses models and simulation tools to accelerate the development, testing and optimization of new sensors, control systems and processes for applications in the agrofood chain. Examples include new application techniques for pre- and postharvest treatments, smart food packaging, storage and transport, supply chain management and innovative food processing techniques.   


Our team is experienced in project development and management at different levels and scales, from specific bilateral short term feasibility studies to large-scale multi-partner thematic consortia that bring together diverse expertises. In this coordinating role, we seek to bring together key innovators in the agrofood chain beyond our own CADcracker expertise.

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CADcracker core partners



Pieter Verboven

CADcracker Research & Innovation Manager



Bart Nicolai

Program manager