The product handling system moves peelboards loaded with dough pieces through the proofer and to the oven.

Moving things around

Production line automation tasks proofers with loading and unloading products in a way that eliminates manual labor. “Among the most challenging issues we face is pan handling,” Mr. McCally said. Diversity, size and weight of pans must all be considered.

Mr. White said IJ White has pan position technology with the flexibility to use multiple carriers within the same system. “It also ensures these carriers remain correctly oriented on the belt,” he noted. “Different pans and carriers can be easily accommodated without the need to change guides, magnet location or grouping methods as with other systems.”

AMF proofers employ automated pan handling systems, Mr. Kauffman said. “Our latest offering uses spiral conveying technology for both pans and products directly on the belt.”

Different breads come with different proofing times and different ways to load products onto the oven belt after proofing. “The Rademaker handling system manages a wide product range: baguettes, petit pains/mini baguettes, free-standing breads, strongly hydrated ciabatta or focaccia, or rounded breads,” Mr. Riggle said. “Both cut and moulded products can be loaded in the same orientation onto the oven belt.” When it comes to the changeover parts that enable such flexibility, one tool fits all.

Automated equipment can sometimes suffer pan shingling and jams, and proofers are no exception. Mr. Cummings noted that Tromp Group has been working with pan suppliers on specialized pans to erase such problems.

The ability to detect such difficulties before they occur is something that IJ White is addressing in its focus on customers’ needs for better asset utilization,
Mr. White noted. “Examples are the ability to detect a misplaced pan or carrier before a crash occurs,” he said, “or the ability to alert an operator to an unusual vibration or temperature spike.”

Read on to learn how FSMA is affecting proofer design.