Proofers: Controlling critical conditions

by Laurie Gorton
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Vertical step methods carry pans through the proofer on plastic friction pads.
 

Managing air movement

Ideally, every product put into a final proofer encounters the exact same conditions as every other one. But that won’t happen without careful control over air movement within the proofer, and it has to take place at rapid production rates.

“Air circulation must be uniform; no cold corners or outside edges are allowed,” Mr. Kauffman said. “We provide this with proper tier spacing for best air flow at 20 air changes per hour.”

Placement of ductwork affects the movement of air throughout the system. “You have to be careful to strategically locate the ductwork,” Mr. Achterberg said. “And you have to be sure the air distribution is calculated correctly.”

Pfening recently redesigned the distribution ducting for its rack proofers. “We are phasing out three-sided duct plenums and going to a four-sided duct that will reduce leaks and increase the life of the insulated panels,” Mr. Doan said. This change addresses the fact that automatic proofers have become larger. “In some cases, we are using more auxiliary fans to keep air moving throughout the proofer and supply adequate air changes,” he added. Designs now also use more supply duct and outlets in larger rooms and on both sides of larger rooms to keep proper air circulation.

IJ White Systems significantly improved air distribution within the spiral proofers by reducing stratification issues and dead spots, according to Peter White, president. “The proofer is designed to be able to increase the humidity with raising the internal air temperature,” he said.

Continue reading to learn about new proofer technologies.

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