Baking & Snack - March 2021 - 94

featured technical expert Q&A
DARREN ADAMS
FRED D. PFENING CO.:

Darren Adams grew up on a farm and from a young age appreciated the origins of the foods we eat. Eventually, he developed a
passion for science, robots and technology, and discovered a way
to marry his background with his technical training.
" When I learned after graduating from school that an industry existed that merged raw sourced ingredients from farms and
mills with robotics and automation to produce food and that I
could be a part of it, I became very inspired to make an impact in
this industry, " Mr. Adams said.
Mr. Adams is the vice president of engineering for the Fred D.
Pfening Co. He has more than 20 years of industry experience.
He started his career in food operations and then moved into a
role in quality assurance for food and beverage products. Next
came equipment design and production management. All along
his journey to becoming vice president, he has always taken education seriously.
He is regularly involved in AIB International training sessions, meetings and organizational meetings. He stays up to date

What expertise are you able to offer bakers in your role?
Our primary role is to help bakers overcome the issues they experience regardless of what the issue is. Manufacturers say that the
issue can be resolved through the process or the tools and equipment, so we work on the challenges with this perspective and then
pinpoint the correct solution or available options. These challenges
range from improving ingredient delivery accuracy, increasing
or upsizing equipment and production output, handling unusually challenging ingredients, to sometimes just trying to make
the needed tweaks to a legacy system to make it operate at its
best capability.

What are the Top 3 issues bakers come to you with
needing solutions?
One is when to go to bulk ingredient handling and system automation, and how to effectively do it. It is hard to determine when you
should automate your process. Pfening is able to help you by learning about your process and ingredients and providing you with affordable ways to automate your process. This can include anything
from the first instance of a complete bulk ingredient system with
storage silos, when to go to automating smaller ingredients ( " minors " or " micros " ), or it could include a fully automated clean inplace system for cleaning liquid piping.
Second is how to improve batch accuracy and repeatability. One

94 Baking & Snack March 2021 / www.bakingbusiness.com

with new information published
in trade media and attends design and management training at
tradeshows. He is also a member of
the NFPA 61 Technical Committee for
Agricultural Dusts, where he works to update rules and regulations that protect the industry
and its workers from dust hazards and dust-related explosions.
In his role with Pfening, he assists bakers with everything from
system design to manufacturing to procuring the right pieces of
equipment.
More than anything else in the industry, Mr. Adams appreciates the feeling after completing the commission of an ingredient
handling system.
" When the finished product comes off of this newly installed
production equipment, and I get to taste the product thereafter, it
really provides that immediate acknowledgement of success and
completion, " he said.

of the most common issues in food production is accuracy and
repeatability of your equipment. Pfening will evaluate your process and product, clarify the accuracy requirements needed, and
provide a system design that will resolve the accuracy or repeatability issues that you are having with your ingredient handling.
The solutions can include new scaling equipment, new system layout or valve type/design used, and a complete control system with
customized software to properly operate and sequence the scaling equipment.
Third is how to simplify the automation controls for the operators. Operators have a lot to take care of such as replenishing
ingredients, mixing and timing their batches, dealing with equipment issues and nuances. They should be provided the best tools to
be successful. Simple, foolproof, robust operator control interface
(HMIs) are the best to simplify the system for the operator. These
controllers offer step by step graphics and written instructions,
preloaded recipes, complete ingredient and recipe batching systems, and can provide ingredient inventory levels and equipment
fault alarm displays.

What's an example of when you helped a baker
overcome a significant challenge?
Although we have done this time and again in general terms,
there is one specific instance where I led a project to install a


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Baking & Snack - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - March 2021

Baking & Snack - March 2021 - Intro
Baking & Snack - March 2021 - 1
Baking & Snack - March 2021 - 2
Baking & Snack - March 2021 - 3
Baking & Snack - March 2021 - 4
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