Overall, about 450 employees work at the SQF-Level 2 Chicago plant, which now operates 12 days straight to maximize long runs and ensure better consistency, followed by two days for maintenance and sanitation. Previously, the company ran 10 consecutive days followed by scheduled downtime.
“We try to complete a lot of preventive maintenance at the same time to avoid any interruptions in production,” Mr. Shelley said. “From a cleaning perspective, the two days allow us to also conduct extensive environmental monitoring and swabbing.”
He pointed out that every piece of equipment comes with a unique identifier, including the line number, to expedite maintenance, sanitation and tracking spare parts when needed.
The facility allots 105,000 square feet for processing; 37,000 square feet for packaging; 25,000 square feet for warehousing; and 20,000 square feet for offices and other departments. Because of the sensitive nature of laminated doughs, all mixing and makeup take place in 55°F rooms.
During Baking & Snack’s recent visit, Gold Standard Baking produced 16-oz cheese Danish on Line No. 5, its newest sweet goods operation. That line can crank out up to 7,500 Danish per hour and other items in metallic foils. The older adjacent Line No. 4 also received a new Rademaker lamination system. That line, however, can produce sweet goods in foils or on pans.
Currently, the two lines turn out nine varieties of laminated goods, including top-selling cheese, raspberry, maple walnut and others, said George Caparos.
Four Shick Solutions 50,000-lb silos are enclosed to protect them from the city’s notoriously harsh weather and provide stable flour temperature. Butter, margarine and other ingredients, including hourly quality control samples from each shift, are held in a 150-pallet freezer.
On Line No. 5, production begins with the Shaffer 1,000-lb glycol-jacketed horizontal mixer, which turns out 60°F doughs that tumble into an FME dough chunker feeding an 800-mm-wide Rademaker makeup line. Here, a depositor applies about a 4-inch swath of butter or margarine on the initial dough sheet where guides on either side of the line fold it over to create about a 1.5-inch thick sheet. An initial quick reducer, or reduction station, flattens the filled sheet to about ¼-inch.
“This system will do a 10-1 reduction, and it does it very gently,” Mr. Shelley observed.
The sheet traverses to a 4-by-4 pattern lapper, which folds the dough to create 16 layers. After looping back and passing through a second quick reducer, the sheet heads to a second lapper.
Following lamination and a 90-degree turn, the now 64-layer sheet enters a multi-roller, with 12 rollers circulating to gently reduce the sheet again. A cross roller then spreads the sheet across the width of the belt while reducing tension, Mr. Shelley said.
Next, the sheet passes under two gauging systems with an optional flour duster in between to reduce sticking. Two brushes then remove any excess flour. A splitter or docking roller perforates the dough for either decorative reasons or to help release moisture during eventual proofing and baking. A trimmer removes excess dough from the sides and guides the trim into a reuse bin.
A Rademaker depositor spreads cheese to the center of the sheet, which is folded over and guillotined to create three 10-inch strips that are placed in tins or foils. Four tins are placed on a white portion of the belt, separated by an empty blue belt, to create a gap that will eventually control oven loading.
After 70 minutes in a dual spiral proofer, the filled foils march to an Eagle Stone aligner, which taps and releases them. A variable-speed belt then allows 12 to 16 tins to simultaneously enter the direct-fired tunnel oven. A recently installed CSM catalytic oxidizer captures the emissions from three ovens in the bakery.
Following baking, four tins at a time then travel under a GOE-Amherst glazer and up a BMI conveyor to a G&F spiral cooler for 50 minutes. The Danish and other sweet goods then can receive streusel, powdered sugar or other toppings.