When depositing batter, the trick is controlling the weight. Accurate deposits ensure that bakers save money and provide people with a consistent product.
“The depositor is the cash register in a batter bakery,” said John McIsaac, vice-president, strategic business development, Reiser. “Inaccurate portioning leads to more money spent on ingredients through excess giveaway. It also means more money spent baking since an uneven portion leads to inconsistency. It can create issues with packaging because different sizes do not fit well into the same package. Most of all, it means a loss of control, which can result in not putting the best product in front of your customers.”
Because accurate weights are so critical to batter depositing, several technologies and production strategies are available to ensure that the portion deposited is exactly what the process requires. These solutions are often used together and can include servo motors, depositor designs and PLCs. All these developments provide the operators with more control over how much batter is released into the pan. The first step comes down to making the right match.
“To ensure accuracy, the most important piece is choosing the depositing technology for the application,” said Clint Adams, product specialist, AMF Tromp. “Choosing the right depositing equipment always comes back to the material that you are depositing and speed.”
AMF Tromp offers bakers a wide range of depositing configurations, including gear wheel, volumetric piston and traveling options. Bakers can test their batter in all these depositors to find the right fit for the bakers’ application.
Erika Record Baking Equipment also features a variety of depositors aimed at providing bakers an accurate portion of batter.
“Our MONO Omega series depositors feature a gear system that helps evenly distribute dough and batter into the depositing template,” said Jon Cabral, marketing director, Erika Record.
The ability to provide a range of different depositing technologies is relatively new, said Mr. McIsaac.
“In the not-too-distant past, batter depositing meant a pneumatic volumetric depositor,” he said. “Today, it can mean servo, vane-cell and double-screw depositors.”
Reiser’s HP3 features a tight-pitch double-screw with a myriad of attachments for versatility.
“Our larger machines bring higher capacity, multiple outlets and the same highly precise portioning,” Mr. McIsaac continued.
Axis Automation ensures accurate deposits with precision components on its machines. Ground and polished dosing pistons, gun-drilled metering tubes and high-tolerance valve bodies ensure accuracy across widths of up to 84 inches, said Ty Sarajian, president, Axis Automation.
ET Oakes has gone a different route with pressurized manifolds.
“We accomplish true accuracy with our design because whatever gets pumped into the manifold gets deposited,” said Bob Peck, vice-president, ET Oakes.
Batter is pumped through mass flow meters that tell the operator the exact mass density of the batter.
Servo technology also has been critical in giving operators an immense amount of control over depositing, said Mr. Adams.
“In volumetric piston depositing there is much more control of the action of the piston,” he said. “The adjustments are done within the PLC on the operator’s touch screen.”
AMF Tromp’s longtime engineering experience has helped the company learn much about adjusting settings and getting the most from the depositor.
“Speed adjustment during suction and depositing makes the system more accurate,” said Adriaan van Houwelingen, senior application specialist, AMF Tromp.
Servo depositors’ strength comes from the fact that they are accurate and easy to operate.
“Servo models are electronically controlled with simple, fast and easy setup and the capability to save and recall recipes,” said Andy Sigrist, product manager, Unifiller. Unifiller’s single- and multi-piston depositors are available in both pneumatic and servo models, but he said the company’s direct-driven servo models are significantly more consistent in accurately spreading batters evenly.
Servo controls and motors control the flow of batter from hopper into depositor and into the pan and can even keep inclusions in the batter suspended. Handtmann’s servo-driven depositors feature these capabilities and offer operators control over not just the batter dispensed but also the same amount of batter delivered to each lane.
“The hoppers on the new Vacuum Fillers 800 series are equipped with a rotating auger independently driven by its own variable frequency drive that keep the particles or inclusions in suspension while the batter stays in the hopper,” said Cesar Zelaya, bakery sales and technology manager, Handtmann. “This achieves a more even dispersion of the inclusions on each deposit and prevents the inclusions from sitting on the bottom of the batter.”
This article is an excerpt from the March 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on batter depositing, click here.