Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 67

EQUIPMENT
Ovens

PERPETUAL PAYBACK
Enhanced oven technology and process controls turn energy
savings into the gift that keeps on giving to a bakery's bottom line.
by Dan Malovany

T

There's no penny-saved, a-penny-earned when it comes
to constantly heating 125-foot bread ovens or their
300-foot cookie and cracker counterparts. Rather, the
savings is a lot more. Instead of hearing the incessant
pinging of coins dropping into a piggybank, the cost of
energy efficiency for these industrial behemoths sounds
more like C-notes quietly stacking up, one after another,
as the production line remains running.
Think about it. On bread lines that crank out 200 units
a minute, ovens can easily use 10 million Btus an hour.
With the recent advances in oven technology, wholesale
bakeries can better harness the hundreds of millions of
Btus they use every day, even compared with an oven
that had been installed just a decade or so ago.
" With our new ovens, we would expect to see at
least 5-10% fuel savings as compared to older ovens, "
said Tremaine Hartranft, director of technical services,
Reading Bakery Systems (RBS).
Using forced convection technology, for instance, often results in 15% energy savings and 15% lower bake
times, while employing heat recovery techniques that
may save even 15% more, noted Kevin Knott, technical
sales manager, B├╝hler-Hass.
" This fits with Buhler's sustainability goals of 50% energy reduction, " he said. " We have developed several systems for heat recovery, for each zone and for the whole

oven to recover heat for process water or to use for preheating the baking air. "
Energy efficiency may be a greater priority for many
European bakeries where the cost of natural gas and
electricity is considerably higher than in the United
States. However, even North American bakeries driven
by a competitive market and a need for cost control
are exploring new systems and process enhancements.
Many improvements are incremental, but together,
could provide huge long-term savings.
" AMF is developing a new burner control system that
will have dedicated burner air fans per section instead of
having one central burner air blower for the entire oven, "
said Remco Bijkerk, product group leader AMF Den
Boer, a brand of AMF Bakery Systems. " This will lead
to more accurate control and less use of air. It will lower
energy consumption, in terms of kilowatt hours for electric and kilowatts for gas, and we estimate savings will be
at least 3-5% of present total usage. "
Jerry Barnes, vice president, Babbco, pointed to the
continuing developments in burner and gas train design
that now provide for more precise increments in turndown ratio, or energy delivery.
" What this does is allow for better matching of heat
output to the bake profile requirement, " he explained.
" Enhanced control algorithms also exist today for man-

Process controls, such
as product gap control,
allow the oven to throttle
back the burners when
there is a break in the
product upstream.
Reading Bakery Systems

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Baking & Snack - April 2021

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