Tech showcase: Cookie and cracker production
Nov. 1, 2014
by Ryan Atkinson
A lot goes into the production of cookies and crackers. For starters, are you producing hard, sweet crackers or soft, savory biscuits? Cookies or saltine crackers? Regardless, it all impacts the long list of processes and equipment needed to churn out some of consumers’ favorite snacks and foods.
Those technologies, like many others in the industry, are evolving. New and better ways to make cookies and crackers come along to make the lives of bakers a bit easier. To supplement this month’s “Cracker Tech 101” feature, Baking & Snack compiled recent developments in cookie and cracker technology.
Accurate oil application
GOE-Amherst introduced a spraying system capable of ±2% accuracy when applying oils. The system helps eliminate lost production and unacceptable product associated with plugged spray nozzles, drips and uneven distribution of application. All oil not applied is recovered, which helps eliminate waste and save costs. It is completely enclosed and self-contained, ensuring no mist migration and offering a safe, sanitary environment around the spraying station.
Soft cookie wirecutter
Independence series wirecut machines from Reading Bakery Systems accurately and reliably create a variety of cookies and bar products at rates up to 150 cuts per minute. Touchscreen operator controls adjust feed roll and cutting speeds, and recipe storage retains settings. Made of sanitary food-grade materials, the die, filler block and wire frame easily remove for cleaning and product changeovers.
Drying with radio frequency energy
Macrowave post-baking dryers from Radio Frequency Co. can be custom-engineered for cookie, cracker and snack food production. These dryers help increase oven band speed by eliminating the final drying requirement from the last third of an oven line. The post-baking dryers use radio frequency energy that preferentially heats and dries moist areas to eliminate surface checking and control moisture and color. They can increase productivity by 30% or more.
Automatic wafer production
The EWB-R IND baking machine from Franz Haas offers fully automatic production of unfilled or cream-filled wafer sticks. The baking ring with electric induction heating offers more than 70% high heat efficiency and produces no hazardous emissions. It freatures all-stainless-steel paneling with vented side doors. Touch scoreen controls allow easy operation.
The FS 510 forming system from Handtmann offers precise portioning for efficient production for up to 250 cuts per minute in six to 24 lane configurations. The system uses a VF 600 filler to move material into the variable lane flow divider, where it is separated directly at the outlet by either a wire or blade. With central control and fully automated functionality, the FS 510 cuts products up to 50 mm in height and 20 mm or more in length.
Designed to rapidly cool cookie, cracker and snack products, these fans from Egan Food Technologies can reduce product adherence problems at the take-off knife. They are an economical alternative when immediate product cooling is critical at the oven discharge. The company’s cooling fans feature stainless steel construction and are easy to maintain and install. They are available in widths up to 60 in.
The TruClean wirecut machine from Baker Perkins forms cookies and biscuits from soft dough while offering reliability, fast changeovers and minimal waste. The TruClean offers weight accuracy of ± 1% on plain dough and ±2% on dough with inclusions through unique die and filler block technology. The machine was designed in accordance with industry guidelines on sanitation. It was also engineered to minimize accumulation of debris and to make thorough and effective cleaning to avoid cross-contact from allergens and pathogens as easy as possible.
The Vemag Coex system from Reiser can be used to produce all types of open cookie and gourmet combination cookie products. Working in conjunction with a cutoff attachment, the coextrusion system delivers a finished product of consistently accurate size and weight. The die insert can easily be swapped out to allow fast changeovers from one product to another. According to the company, this system economically produces gourmet combination cookies.
The Unimac from Tromp is a universal electronic depositor capable of portioning a wide range of cookies, batters, praline fillings and more. Its modular design makes it possible to purchase the basic model and upgrade to a more sophisticated execution at a later date. The Unimac allows ready removal of conveyor belts so the machine can be placed above a makeup line.
The Double D Continuous Baking Oven from JBT FoodTech is a solution for baking high volumes of a variety of products. A unique airflow system allows complete control over top and bottom heat, giving consistent results. It includes a traveling band which can be custom-built to any required width as well as fan speed control and multi-zone control. It also has the option of being incorportated into a fully automatic baking and cooling operation.