Servo technology makes a vital difference to dividers, and a number of bakery equipment manufacturers have adopted this approach. Servomechanisms — “servos” for short — are electronic closed-loop controllers that use data generated by the process as feedback to keep the process running within pre-determined parameters. A servo-controlled drive minimizes operator attention and manual adjustment when compared with hydraulic and mechanical systems.
AMF Bakery Systems’ new ServoTech divider exemplifies the trend.
“We put servo controllers on a volumetric process to make it more precise,” said Larry Gore, director, sales and marketing. “The volumetric divider design allows flexibility in the bread types that can be produced on this divider while the servo design optimizes divider performance.”
In another example, the ram on Baker Perkins’ Accurist2 divider is servo-controlled.
“The dough pressure generated by forward motion of the ram is measured,” said Keith Graham, marketing manager, Baker Perkins Inc. “When a preset level is reached, the ram stops, and the dough is divided.”
Servo designs allow control over each divider pocket and permit adjustment of operating parameters to suit each dough individually.
“Some doughs — pizza is an example — need more pressure than others, so you can’t use the same settings for it as a softer dough,” said Roger Romsom, marketing and sales director of Benier NL, a member of The Kaak Group. “Without servos, you couldn’t do this without compromising dough quality.”
The company recently experimented with the effects of dividing doughs with increasingly higher hydration. Comparing its servo-run divider with its conventional designs, researchers found they could boost dough water by 4% on the servo-controlled system, said Mr. Romsom.
WP Bakery Group adopted servo drives to replace hydraulic systems for ram-style bread dividers.
“These are intelligent motors that not only control the power used, but they also give feedback on the resistance in front of the main ram,” said Ken Weeks, project manager, Kemper roll lines, WP Bakery Group. “This gives us the possibility to recognize when too much dough is being compressed and stop the movement before any damage is done to sensitive doughs.”
The company also redesigned its WP Winkler Admiral divider to use quick-change cassettes. Servo motors and pressure compensation enable the WP Kemper SoftStar divider to accommodate doughs with long bulk fermentation time and high absorption rates, noted Patricia Kennedy, president, WP Bakery Group.