Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 86

INGREDIENT HANDLING

As bakers expand
their ingredient handling systems, each
component needs to
be considered based
on business needs,
ROI and the bakery's
overall strategy.
Bühler Group

shivs on a blower to get more cubic feet per minute,
changing rotary airlocks to a larger size or changing
purge times on convey cycles. All these little things may
be enough before the baker is forced to spend big dollars
on a huge expansion."
If those aren't enough and a bakery does need to invest in an expansion, there are priorities that can shed
light on what should happen first.
The bulk ingredient system is often the first place bakeries start when expanding capacity at the front of the
production line.
"The areas offering the greatest reduction in either labor or ingredient expense are great places to start," said
Jason Stricker, director of sales and marketing, Shick
Esteve. "Typically, it will be in the areas of bulk dry and
liquid ingredients. These are by nature the largest components of the recipe and thus experience greater usage.
From there it could be in the areas of both dry and liquid
minor ingredient automation."
Bulk storage also provides the quickest return on investment (ROI). These ingredients - items like flour
and sugar - are the most used in a formulation, and
a bulk system can be sized for extra capacity and easy
expansion later.
"You can put a silo in, and it can hold way more capacity than you need at that time and then deliver from
the silo to a use point you know you need right now,"
said Darren Adams, vice president, engineering, The
Fred D. Pfening Co. "If everything is oversized, then
you can very easily branch off from the system you've
already created and deliver bulk ingredients to a second,
third or fourth use point with minimal investment."
If there is sufficient capacity in the bulk systems, bakers
may turn to the minor or micro handling systems. These
ingredients are often manually scaled and added to the
mixing bowl, but as a bakery increases capacity, automation accelerates the process and increases accuracy.
"Often the first stage of an ingredient handling system expansion is for ingredients that are fed frequently
in medium quantities, that require additional labor to be

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

applied when manually scaled and added to the mixer,"
said John Hunter, sales account manager, bakery and
ingredient handling, Bühler Group. "Micro ingredients
that are routinely added may also be added to the ingredient handling system, particularly where they are dosed
in the majority of recipes."
Even if a bakery hasn't invested in a silo, automating
downstream ingredient handling equipment first can offset the cost if the capital isn't there. This allows bakers to
not only reduce the cost of storage equipment, some of
the priciest of the ingredient handling system, but it also
helps them save money on ingredients by buying in bulk.
"Set up a lot of the equipment other than the storage bin, and then use smaller batches of ingredients
and a bag dump that transfers into your use points,"
Mr. Adams suggested. "Or use a super sack or bulk bag
unloader that would handle more than a bag but much
less than a silo. Then you get a little bit of your cost savings from buying in bulk, but at the same time, you're
not purchasing a very expensive large bulk silo."
As bakeries increase capacity, ingredient handling
systems must keep up, and expansion then becomes necessary. Whether bakers start with major, minor or micro
ingredients, each system comes with considerations and
strategies to squeeze in as much capacity as possible.

Bulking up
Bulk ingredient handling systems store, weigh and deliver the major ingredients, often flour, sugar or a liquid
sweetener, to the mixing bowl. Typically, these ingredients are stored in silos.
"Your biggest payback is on large volume storage
systems so you can maximize your payload of product delivery, and that obviously takes up a lot of space,"
Mr. Adams said.
Despite how large these storage and delivery systems
can be, they're often quite flexible in where they can be
or even how they are configured.
Silos have the historic advantage of being placed
outside or under temporary shelters.


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Baking & Snack - May 2020

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