LAWRENCE, MASS. — JSB Industries’ 100,000-square-foot bakery in Lawrence and 85,000-square-foot plant in Chelsea, Mass., reflect complementary schools of thought when it comes to production at the company. Overall, about 400 people work in the bakeries that produces muffins, filled bagels and other sweet goods. Although the older facility in Chelsea houses five lines, about a dozen rack ovens and two Babbco tunnel ovens, Scott Anderson, vice-president of operations, JSB, described the operation as a “treasure map” when it comes to production flow.
Meanwhile, the Lawrence bakery has two highly efficient production lines, and there’s room to add two more to effectively double the plant’s capacity. It also has four packaging lines.
“Our Chelsea facility can make small batches of 100 lbs where here, in Lawrence, a small batch may be 2,000 lbs on our muffin line, so we have much more flexibility in Chelsea to do smaller runs,” he noted.
That high-speed line in Lawrence cranks out up to 40,000 muffins an hour.
“We can produce on two shifts on our one Lawrence line what could take five shifts in Chelsea,” Mr. Anderson pointed out.
At the Lawrence facility, which Baking & Snack toured, four 10-hour shifts work on the $2 million Raque crustless sandwich line, which was installed less than two years ago. The plant receives a truckload of whole grain bread from Gold Medal Bakery in Fall River, Mass., three times a week.
The SunWise branded sandwich process starts with two bread dispensers placing four slices of bread across a white belt, followed by SunButter depositing, then strawberry jelly and a second smear of SunButter. After two more bread dispensers top the sandwich, robotic stampers cut and crimp the crustless bread at rates of 165 to 170 a minute.
“We’re cutting off about 20% of the bread,” noted Mr. Anderson, who added that the crusts are reincorporated into its bagel products or recycled for animal feed.
“We try to reuse as much as we can,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy line to design and start up. Because it’s so unique, it took us several months to get it right, but it’s working perfect now.”
A gate then lines up the crustless sandwiches, which travel single file through an Ilapak horizontal flowwrapper to manual bulk packing using an ADCO tray and case erector, or four sandwiches in a Little David-created retail box. Pallets then receive Lantech stretch wrapping.
Typically, all products are stored for 48 hours in the Lawrence 750-pallet freezer. The Chelsea operation houses an 850-pallet storage freezer.
“We like to give it two days in the freezer just to make sure the products are rock-solid for shipping, especially during summer,” Mr. Anderson said.
Most frozen baked foods are shipped via customer or common carrier.
“We carry very little inventory,” Mr. Anderson noted. “We’re pretty much a just-in-time producer with a two-week lead time in scheduling.”
Going to town with muffins
During the past few years, the Lawrence bakery added a Gemini/KB Systems bulk handling operation with two 80,000-lb flour silos and one 60,000-lb sugar silo that feed its muffin line. The bakery also has an older ribbon mixer for pre-blending ingredients that are bagged, palletized and shipped to the more manual Chelsea facility. Additionally, the operation relies on 2,000-lb totes for liquid ingredients such as eggs and shortening, while other minors are scaled per batch.
All ingredients are incorporated into a batter by the 2,000-lb E.T. Oakes slurry mixer for about 7 to 8 minutes before being pumped into a holding tank. A Mallet & Co. targeted spray system applies pan release oils. The line provides precise batter portioning using a Hinds-Bock depositor that avoids tailing and spillage.
Baking occurs in an Auto-Bake Serpentine system that carries about 125 pans in the thermal oil oven at one time during the process. Baking times range from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the product, whether it’s muffins, muffin tops or cornbread loaves.
An ABB robotic depanner picks up two pans — up to 88 muffins at a time — and deposits the muffins on a white belt conveyor. The line also has an inline pan washer and dryer to create a continuous production cycle.
After receiving ambient cooling, the muffins travel to a 35˚F cooler, then, via a Capway conveyor, to an Ilapak flowwrapper at rates of about 300 units a minute. Muffins and other sweet goods are also hand-packed in 24-oz clamshells and case packed via ADCO technology. The company uses Mettler Toledo and Lock metal detection.
Schools of thought
Both bakeries are Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 certified.
“My father was always a stickler about being able to eat off the floor,” Scott Anderson recalled.
Angela Cunio, quality assurance director and SQF practitioner, noted that Melissa Langone, quality assurance regulatory compliance, and QA Supervisors Sindy Borja and Xiomaira Vazquez ensure that customer requests and requirements are met daily and in a timely fashion. Together they work with Andre Andrade, director of operations; Tim Shepard, chief engineer; Ricardo Robadel, Chelsea plant manager; Joe Delude, Lawrence plant manager; and Laureen Dorgan, administrative manager.
“The biggest change we have made in our operations to improve product consistency and quality is listening,” Ms. Cunio said. “We involve management and line workers when implementing new programs and when improving existing programs. The team as a whole is our biggest asset. With the team’s help, we have successfully implemented quality checks at different points within our process and listened to the team when a program wasn’t working to create one that does.”
Training has been the key to enhancing its food safety programs.
“It is easy to tell someone what to do, but when you make someone understand why it is important, you minimize your failures,” Ms. Cunio added.
In 2016, JSB Industries created a new training program that is company-based.
“We incorporated our process and programs into training and focus on the basics,” she said. “In the two years since implementing the new training program, we have seen a decrease in incidents and customer complaints.”
Learning is essential to JSB as it diversifies and moves into different directions.
“We’re just trying to broaden our horizons and not be a K-12 muffin company anymore,” Mr. Anderson said. “To me, it’s great to come to work daily with my brothers and father, and our upper management team is just as much family as everyone else. We have a tight-knit management crew, and everyone takes pride and enjoys working for our family.”