Proofers: Controlling critical conditions

by Laurie Gorton
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A roll line with an integrated preproofer and final proofer can feed its products directly into onto the oven belt.
 

Adding newer technologies

Vertical thinking characterizes several developments in final proofer design. Described as continuous spirals and step or paternoster systems, such proofers move panned products in a nonstop flow through heated and humidified enclosures. The continuous movement carries each pan through every part of the proofer’s internal environment.

“Each pan is routed through the whole proofer, encountering the exact same conditions as the pans ahead of it,” Mr. Achterberg explained. “CBF conceptualized the step proofer to minimize moving parts and to locate motors and other structures outside the product zone as much as possible. And it runs only when needed.”

The step proofer’s design uses parallel brackets to engage the edges of the filled pan or peelboard. The brackets feature plastic friction pad surfaces that eliminate metal-to-metal contact. There is no large metal structure or shelving to unproductively absorb heat.

Designed as a paternoster (an elevator consisting of a series of linked doorless compartments moving continuously), the Tromp Group proofer greatly reduces the amount of floor space required, Mr. Cummings explained. “These systems consist of an up-going tower and a down-going tower,” he explained.

Rademaker, a longtime maker of belt proofers, recently developed a modular peelboard proofing and retarding system that employs step methods. “Through gentle handling, both for peelboards and dough products, product deformation or distortion is kept at an absolute minimum,” Mr. Riggle said. “The low transportation speeds result in lower wear of the system, less product failure and very low noise level. Moreover, it reduces the number of spare parts.”

A lot tracking system simplifies changeovers. “The proofer can continue to keep running with both the old and new dough batches in the same cabinet,” Mr. Riggle noted. “Production can therefore continue without interruption.”

Spiral conveyors configured as proofers benefit from simplified design and mechanical features, according to Mr. White. “Our direct cage drive (DCD) systems eliminate chains and sprockets,” he pointed out.

ABI reported recently building two side-by-side proofing towers three stories high. Products rise on one system, transfer to the other and descend to move to further processing. The design presented concerns about airflow and climate control. “The advances made during the development of this system plotted the course for many of the technologies and methodologies we use in proofer building today,” Mr. Burke reported.

Learn how to reduce extra manual labor in the next segment.

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