Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 111
MAKING UP FOR PAST
Keeping speed at the end of the line often depends on what's happening upstream.
by Charlotte Atchley
The packaging department in any commercial bakery can be a place where high-speed production slows
down. Many varieties require changeovers between materials, and it's where most of the operators work on the
line. However, the key to speed may not lie in the packaging department after all.
"Machines are extremely consistent," said Bill Kehrli,
vice-president of sales and marketing, Cavanna Group.
"They don't change; they don't fluctuate. The nature of the
baked products - the flour and yeast - it shrinks and
grows depending on humidity, density and other factors,
and inconsistency greatly affects packaging speeds because
the more consistent the product, the faster we can run."
Keeping things moving at a quick pace requires bakers to manage inconsistent product, production flow and
operator limitations upstream.
Adapt to inconsistent product
The very nature of bakery products make them particularly susceptible to inconsistencies in size and shape
than in other food industries.
"If you think about the candy industry, they have a
big advantage because a lot of their products are made
in moulds. They're very consistent in size, shape and texture, and we can run those high speed all day long," said
Dennis Gunnell, vice-president, sales and marketing,
Formost Fuji. "Unfortunately, most baked goods aren't
made in a mould. They have a lot of variation and not
just in size but in consistency of shape. It really puts a
challenge to how to automate it. It's one of the biggest
hurdles we face."
In the packaging department, there are systems that
mitigate the issue of inconsistent product. Vision systems
can remove out-of-spec items before they jam up a packaging department. "We're using vision to see the product
and pick it on the fly," said Rocco Fucetola, vice-president,
sales and marketing, BluePrint Automation (BPA). "You
don't actually create a bottleneck because even if the system goes down, the product can pass through the system
into a collection bin for rework later."
Tolerances in bagging need to accommodate a realistic range of sizes coming out of the oven. "We feel the
most important part of running smoothly is to make
equipment that is forgiving so if the product is a little
equipment aims to
increase speed and
Heat and Control
www.bakingandsnack.com / May 2018 Baking & Snack 111