When it comes to cake depositing, many bakers demand that versatile systems adapt to their extensive product portfolios.
Without a hitch

To minimize delays during startup, uncrate and position the equipment prior to the technician’s arrival. “If not, this eats up valuable installation and training days,” Mr. Gregg said.

Bakers should check that utilities work properly. Then, Mr. Gregg added, place a conference call with the equipment vendor at least two weeks prior to installation to verify all utility requirements, especially for pneumatic equipment that fuels a depositor’s operation. “Does the plant have plenty of compressed air to handle all the equipment, which uses a lot of cubic feet a minute when it’s running at the same time?” he recommended asking.

For Mr. Cummings, a smooth ramp-up begins with a comprehensive factory acceptance test (FAT). “Many times, customers look at the FAT as an inconvenience, but if the right people attend the FAT — a line operator and maintenance personnel, for example — the chances of success are higher.

Prior to the FAT, Tromp Group encourages customers to provide both pans and all ingredients to accurately test the production line, he noted.

Likewise, Cesar Zelaya, bakery sales and technology manager at Handtmann, recommended scaling up actual batters and simulating production runs to ensure no surprises during the start-up or commissioning of the equipment. Such pre-production preparation allows both the baker and vendor to learn about the product characteristics prior to shipping the equipment to the bakery. “Each different product or flavor brings different challenges for the equipment,” Mr. Zelaya said.

Maintaining accuracy remains a priority with all depositing technology. “Batters containing large particles or inclusion such as chocolate chips will tend to fluctuate in weight a bit more than plain batters with no inclusions,” Mr. Zelaya said. “Additionally, preserving the integrity of the inclusions and minimizing the smearing into the batter are important to the product’s appearance and consistency.”

Sharing detailed information on product characteristics, line capacity and other specifications provides the road map for a quick, uneventful path to manufacturing saleable sweet goods.

According to Mr. McIsaac, it also allows vendors to share their expertise with bakers during the trial stage and then provide them training as the equipment comes online. “Our company will work with our customers to ensure that adding speed and efficiency to the process does not result in a different product than what made them successful in the first place,” he noted. “Once our customer has chosen his equipment supplier, he needs to know the company will provide the technical and product support to launch.”