Designed for uptime

In the frozen dough bread production room, set at 65°F, three Sancassiano industrial spiral bowl mixers feed a Fritsch Laminator 3000 industrial sheeting line, using Fritsch’s SoftProcessing technology. The sheeted dough travels through a series of reduction stations, flour dusters and a cross-stretcher to achieve a precise thickness. Cut into squares, dough pieces roll up as they travel through a curling chain.

The formed dough pieces head to another GEA spiral freezer. The frozen goods exit the spiral freezer and enter a Grandi counting and optical vision system. This system serves two purposes: It counts the pieces into the case, and it provides a quality check for width, length and shape — rejecting any out of specification.

The system also has redundancy built in. The frozen dough bread pieces are counted out into two feed hoppers. If one side of the counter is not working, the line will automatically switch 100% of the volume to the other feed hopper. “You never want to shut down the sheeting line,” Mr. Zakian said. “The dough is very much alive, so you have to ensure the dough is constantly flowing down the line.”

The pieces are placed automatically into cases with liner bags. Stokes Material Handling Systems designed the case handling equipment, which was supplied by Pearson.

In many ways, the cookie and bread production rooms operate as individual manufacturing facilities, replete with a quality assurance department where the frozen products are baked off and scored against the customer’s specifications.

In the QA labs set just a few feet from the production lines, technicians bake off samples. In the frozen bread room, lab personnel take samples off the line every seven minutes. Additionally, the department conducts shelf-life tests of the frozen products after 30, 60 and 90 days.

“It’s part of our effort to align QA with production,”

Mr. Hamade said. “We want production and quality to work hand-in-hand. We don’t want them to have to walk to another part of the facility to conduct quality tests on our products.”