Slideshow: Pan handling showcase

by Dan Malovany
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It’s the little things in a bakery’s operations that can often add up to big bucks in the long run. Just take pan handling. If pans are jammed or slammed around, they can bend, dent, warp or bow in a manner that simply makes them fodder for the scrap yard or for unnecessary and costly repairs.

Today’s pan handling systems not only gently stack and unstack, but they also do it without the cacophonous rhythm of steel banging against steel of the past. Relying on robotics gantry structures and a variety of gentle grips, the systems can pick and place multiple pans and even manage “gaps” in production. Some systems offer space-saving features, which are especially vital for bakeries looking to expand in existing facilities or brownfield operations.

Previously, gauging exactly when to coat a pan was more of a “guestimate” than an exact science. Some pans may run 2,000 cycles through a production line while others, for one reason or another, may take 500 fewer trips, simply because there is no way to monitor their actual usage.

The latest in pan tracking software provides ways to exactly monitor coating life and maximize production efficiencies, especially on high-speed lines where yield is so critical to the bottom line.
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