Bagging the best packaging system
Shelf life and flexibility considerations affect bagging system choices.
BakingBusiness.com, Jan. 17, 2012
by Charlotte Atchley
First impressions matter. When it comes to bread products, presentation and packaging determine those all-important first impressions. How a product is prepped and dressed makes a difference to consumers or wholesale customers, and packaging operations at the end of the processing line are responsible for these factors. This is where freshness is sealed in. In a wholesale bakery with several different products baggers often must be used on many different products, and control systems may be required to keep them running in proper sync.

Choosing a bagging system largely depends upon the diversity of products being bagged. Knowing how many different products will be running on one bagger can help a baker determine which bagger to choose. According to Dennis Gunnell, vice-president, sales and marketing, Formost Fuji Corp., Woodinville, WA, flexibility is essential to keep in mind when choosing bagging equipment.

If a bakery plans to run a variety of products on a bagger, especially switching between bread, buns and rolls on the same machine, that equipment will need a great deal of flexibility, according to Mr. Gunnell.

With bagging systems, bakers also need machines that will communicate effectively with operators and other automated equipment. Baggers link the final stages of bread production, installed between slicers and closure systems. Roland Lomerson, director of automation, AMF Bakery Systems, Richmond, VA, said bakers need to be sure the system logic is programmed correctly so baggers communicate properly with slicers. According to Mr. Lomerson, this is the best way to minimize potential bottleneck situations.

When Mr. Gunnell sells Formost Fuji’s baggers to bakers around the world, his biggest question is which electronic package, controllers and drives are they using locally. Addressing this question ensures that operators in another country can use the systems with which they feel the most comfortable.

To make its servo systems compatible across many different countries, Bettendorf Stanford, Inc., Salem, IL, has removed their heavy logic programming. “This gives you the life expectancy you would get out of a servo movement or actuation but doesn’t add a lot of complexity to the equipment,” said Matt Stanford, vice-president, Bettendorf Stanford.

This simplification extends to the other components used in Bettendorf Stanford’s equipment, too.

“We try to keep everything as simple as possible because a lot of international companies may not have access to overnight components,” Mr. Stanford said. “We try to use standardized and stock components that they should be able to replace at their basic industrial component store.”

He said bakers need to consider the number of moving components and parts when choosing baggers and slicers because traditionally, the fewer the components, the fewer the parts that will eventually need replacing.