Settling the score
Shane Whitaker, Baking & Snack
Equipped with a 3D laser scanner, a recent robot integration enabled a delta-style robot to score pretzel rolls using ultrasonic blades.
The automated bread and roll system scores the top of proofed, but not-yet-baked, rolls using angle and cross cuts, noted Mark Rosenberg, president of Gemini Bakery Equipment Co., Philadelphia, which collaborated with ABI Automation, Concord, ON, for this installation.
“This particular system was designed to process close to 400 rolls per minute, scoring each roll twice,” said Alex Kuperman, ABI’s president.
The laser scanner identifies not only the relative position of each bun but also its shape and height. “This ensures that the bun is scored both in the proper position and to the right depth,” Mr. Kuperman noted.
Normally, a worker could make up to 60 cuts per minute, Mr. Rosenberg said, while a single robot can make 150 to 240 cuts per minute, depending on product orientation and the type of cut. “It is assumed each robot can replace two or three people,” he concluded.
While labor savings may be a reason that justifies integrating a robot, Mr. Rosenberg added that the robot’s ability to produce a more uniform product is another way to justify its cost.