In a bakery plant, efficiency is the name of the game. But it’s a word that can mean many different things in various areas of production. When making items such as cookies and sweet goods, it’s vital for bakers to waste as little dough as possible.
Sometimes that begins before equipment cranks up … other times even sooner.
“For Rademaker, it really starts for us up front before you even buy the line,” said Eric Riggle, president, Rademaker USA. “Bakers must understand the entire process so they don’t put together a line and then suddenly think of another product they have to make and wind up with 35% rework when they can only use 20% back into the process.”
If dough will be left behind, the goal should be trim or reclaim — that which can be reused — as opposed to scrap or waste, which eventually winds up as animal feed. While it’s important for bakers to keep waste top of mind in any area of production, there are some simple things they should keep in mind to put as much dough to use as possible.
Starting up, changing over
When focusing on minimizing waste, start-up and changeovers often stand out. To address this issue, Rademaker designs its equipment for simple setup.
“We sat down with our customers and watched how they use our machines and set them up,” Mr. Riggle said. “We discovered that the easier, more repeatable and more consistent we can make it, then right out of the gate, bakers can save themselves money every day with quicker changeovers.”
To achieve this objective, Rademaker designed its equipment to allow operators to quickly set up a process with minimal scrap at the start-up.
“This means the same product is made each and every time versus trial and error at the setup phase,” Mr. Riggle explained. The company’s new universal makeup line incorporates a Tooling Assistant Guide on the HMI that shows the user exactly what coded tool goes where in setting up the machine.
For Handtmann, Inc., quick-release designs and custom-made tools simplify and speed up disassembly and cleaning of its cookie depositors, said Cesar Zelaya, bakery sales and technology manager. In some cases, there is just going to be unused dough in the equipment, no matter how many steps a baker takes to minimize it. At that point, the best bet is to get it cleaned out as quickly as possible and move on to the next product with the least amount of downtime.
“Our depositors have a cleaning mode that will remove all the dough in the equipment and speed up the disassembly and sanitation for the next product,” he said.
Franz Haas Machinery of America also places a heavy emphasis on equipment that’s easy to clean for quick changeovers.
“We’re trying wherever possible to make changeovers tool-less so it’s more operator-friendly,” said Kevin Knott, technical sales manager, Franz Haas. “We go as far as possible to make rollers and food contact parts more accessible and easy to remove for the operator.”
Jim Fontaine, bakery specialist, Reiser, advised bakers to think strategically to limit changeovers.
“The best strategy is using sales history and forecasting tools to schedule production efficiently,” he said.
For cookie production, Reading Bakery Systems offers specific features for both wirecut and rotary moulders that keep changeovers to a minimum. A spare wirecut head lifts the frame and cart, enabling the operator to easily remove the head and replace it with a clean one.
“This is different from the old days, when the baker would run out the previous dough with the new dough,” said Sam Pallottini, director of cookie, cracker and pet food sales, Reading Bakery Systems.
Additionally, Reading’s rotary moulder design enables quick die removal and belt replacement.
“Dedicated belts enable customers to select those that work best with the type of dough they’re running, thus minimizing scrap,” he said.