New developments in extruders enable bar producers to branch out into innovative shapes.
Accessible sanitation

The plethora of allergen ingredients used in bar formulations keep sanitation top-of-mind for producers, particularly those running cold-formed operations.

“Cleaning and sanitary design are increasingly important to all manufacturers but are particularly critical when the bars are not baked,” Mr. Graham said. “These cold-forming processes are often necessary to preserve the nutritional content of the ingredients.”

Sanitary design minimizes the opportunity for debris and bacteria to collect in the first place.

“The main principle underlying the design of our TruClean range of forming equipment is that machines should produce very little debris, and any that is produced should be easy to see and remove,” Mr. Graham continued.

Baker Perkins has eliminated many debris traps, such as horizontal surfaces, sandwich contacts and exposed threads, on its TruClean equipment as well as minimized the number of covers and ensured tool-less removal of parts for cleaning.

Easy access to components makes cleaning fast and easy. For example, Haas’ new range of depositors and extruders feature interchangeable heads that can be rolled onto a cleaning trolley, resulting in up to 75% less time for cleaning compared to earlier designs, Mr. Knox said. The head, consisting of the hopper, feed rollers and pump house modules, can be easily removed, rolled to a sanitation room and further disassembled for cleaning.

Clextral recently redesigned its pumping system to give operators easier access to the components. This helps streamline daily cleaning and maintenance.

Rolling larger equipment to another location while replacing it with clean equipment gives bar producers the opportunity to wash down equipment off the plant floor and keep production moving. All the components on Rheon’s equipment that comes into contact with food can come off the body of the machine and be cleaned in washers or sprayed down. However, for larger machines, the company has trolleys that clip onto the components to roll them easily into a washdown area.

The Egan Food Tech extruder’s head raises straight up, allowing the filler block and die to slide out for cleaning. Beyond simple cleaning of allergens, though, Egan Food Tech offers an ultrasonic guillotine, which not only helps keep inclusions from being crushed but also prevents those binder ingredients from sticking to the blade.

While all this cleaning is happening, the production line could be down. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Installing back-up components ensures that production keeps moving during sanitation.

“A complete second head can be installed on the machine while the first head is being cleaned in order to minimize equipment downtime,” said Cesar Zelaya, bakery technology manager, Handtmann, Inc. “All these changes are driven by our customers’ needs to maintain high levels of sanitation that include allergen cleaning while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time required for cleaning.”