With demand on the rise for every kind of pie imaginable, pizza producers are looking for as much flexibility as possible from their process.

For customers who are producing several stock-keeping units on the same line, Handtmann can customize its equipment to minimize downtime. For example, its HMI can store up to 250 recipes or programs that can easily be changed with a tap on the touchscreen, said Cesar Zelaya, bakery and sales technology manager for Handtmann.

Recipe control becomes critical when producing different size pizzas that run the gamut from minis to family size, noted John McIsaac, vice-president, strategic business development, Reiser.

Rademaker’s recipe management system allows operators to make adjustments on the line directly through the PLC.

“A person simply selects a recipe, and the line will automatically adjust itself to a sheeting profile, dough thickness and corresponding belt speeds,” said Eric Riggle, president, Rademaker USA.

Changing from thick to thin crust on a sheeting line can be done quickly with features such as carousel cutting stations, said Jim Cummings, president, Tromp Group Americas.

“We also provide automatic height adjustments for one-touch control to change over from thin to thick crust,” he said.

Moline also offers equipment for quickly changing crust flavors.

“Under the right conditions, these systems are easy to integrate with existing equipment,” said David Moline, vice-president, sales and marketing, Moline Machinery.

Applications include spot-depositing or seasoning systems for flavors like garlic, herb or salt blends that can be pressed into a crust or dough sheet. The system is modular, so it can be wheeled into a production line and taken away easily.

“Then, if quick changeovers are required, the baker can have dedicated applicators for each type of seasoning, then swap it out, with minimal changeover time.”

Mr. Moline said the key to optimizing versatility lies in planning ahead. Consider the potential for added capabilities in the future, as well as modularity or perhaps allocating extra floor space up front on the makeup table.

“You may not need it right way, but in the future, it will allow room for multiple cutting stations and different cutting styles, seasoning application systems and reclaim systems,” he suggested. “When putting in a new system, considering up front adding in a bit of extra space in the makeup area is a smart thing.”

As quickly as consumers change their minds — and expect immediate results — a little versatility can go a long way to give them the best of all worlds.