Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 38

TIPPIN'S PIES

Left: David Ball, Four
B Corp. CEO, ensured
business never skipped a
beat when the company
acquired Tippin's.
Right: Improving efficiencies has become a
priority for Tippin's as the
business grows.

In the kettle room, for example, filling is made in one
of three 400-gallon Heritage kettles. Piping is a marvel of
engineering infrastructure that directs the appropriate
filling to the correct point in the process, whether right
before the oven infeed for custard fillings, at the makeup
line for fruit fillings or to cooled shells for cream pies.
Everything's made from scratch, and fruits that come
in frozen are slacked out to the desired temperature in
a climate-controlled adjacent room. Fillings are cooked
and cooled quickly with steam above 300°F and then
with ice water that's pumped through the lines.
Set about 5 feet above the ground, the kettles are just
high enough to make manually loading them a physical
pain. To help the operators, Tippin's installed Topos lifts
to load the prepped filling ingredients via trough.
"Again, one of the things we were trying to do was
take some of the hard work and heavy lifting from teammates," Mr. Boyer said.
Additionally, removing this burden opened up opportunities for teammates who did not have the physical
prowess to lift the ingredients that high before. When automation eliminated the need for certain workers in other
areas of the plant, it also naturally redirected that talent.
"Now people can often self-select for the kinds of jobs
they want to do," Mr. Boyer said.
In the room next door, French silk and meringue are
mixed in a Sancassiano 300-quart planetary mixer.
Out on the line, meringue for pies such as coconut
cream is toasted with a small impingement oven that can
be slid inline when needed.
After pies are blast-frozen, they experience the last
stage in the automation. Cream pies are topped at the

38 Baking & Snack May 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

Unifiller station with Apex robots, topping 20 pies a
minute. Four robotic heads first cover the inside, and
then the next one pipes the pie's perimeter.
The piping isn't perfect, but that's by design. Tippin's
pies are a signature item, and the hand touch has always
been a big feature of that.
"The pies look like they're handmade, and that was
intentional," Mr. Boyer said. "We invested in equipment
that could do that."
Still, decorators will go in and fill in little gaps that
sometimes occur.
"Whipped cream is very delicate by nature," Mr. Boyer
said. "When decorators pipe cream by hand there's a
technique called 'burping the bag' to get rid of the air
pockets. Every now and then the robots will experience
the same issue, and an air pocket occurs, and there's a
void, so the decorators will fill that in."
Having a few decorators perform this task is quite different from the old days ... and this became a welcome
change.
"In the old bakery, we had 12 decorators, and all they
did was this all day," Mr. Boyer said. "They're really good
at what they do. But they decorated with pastry bags for
10 hours a day. Automation took the stress off our team
members who were creaming those pies by hand."
Today, sounds of singing can be heard from the line,
and it's music to Mr. Boyer's ears.

Glimpsing the future
Every Tippin's pie heads in the same direction, and
if they bypass the topping, they head through X-ray,
are loaded onto a palletizer and then taken into the


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