The downsides of inaccurate deposit weights cannot be overstated. If a depositor is not portioning the correct amount of batter, everything downstream will be affected. If the deposit isn’t accurate, the bakery will not only give away product, but the batter also will rise too much in the oven and cause problems in packaging, said Bob Peck, vice-president, ET Oakes.

Giving away too much product means consumers are paying less for more.

“Ingredient costs and labor costs are at an all-time high,” said Lance Aasness, executive vice-president, Hinds-Bock. “Any amount of extra product that is lost with inaccurate depositing will ultimately affect the bottom line. If a production worker is required to monitor these accuracies and ‘fix’ the inaccurate deposits, unnecessary labor costs will be incurred and, again, affect your bottom line.”

Inaccurate weights also cause problems in the packaging department. Not only do bakers risk the product not fitting into the packaging correctly, but the weight listed on the label also will be misleading.

“Accuracy also refers to spreading, clean cut-off at the end of the deposit cycle and correct distribution of batters,” said Andy Sigrist, product manager, Unifiller.

While accurate weights may be critical for product consistency and process efficiency downstream, drips and tailing can be another source of waste.

“When purchasing the right equipment for depositing batter, waste should be virtually eliminated,” said Jon Cabral, marketing director, Erika Record. “This is achieved by ensuring product is accurately deposited into their pans without spillage and ensuring that the depositors are properly sealed to avoid leakage in-between deposits.”

The cut-off of the nozzle is critical to making sure this leakage doesn’t occur at the outset of the equipment’s commissioning and that the seal doesn’t weaken over time.

“Even the most accurate depositor is only as good as its ability to resist leaking over time,” said Ty Sarajian, president, Axis Automation.

The company’s specialists have experience in mechanical seals, positive displacement pumps and molding of elastomeric seals.

 “Our attention to preventing leaks and providing robust and sanitary seals ensures our depositors maintain accuracy over a much longer period of time,” he said.

It helps when the spout and nozzle are the right match for the product being deposited.

“We have worked with just about every product on the market,” Mr. Aasness said. “It’s through this experience that we saw a need for accurate product handling through spouts and nozzles.”

The company designed a large range of spouts to meet this need.

“From this range, we can specify the appropriate spout to achieve clean, accurate depositing,” Mr. Aasness continued. “It includes positive shut-off, blow-off, spreading as well as spouts that dive or travel.”

The company also features drip-free nozzles to further prevent leaks and trailing.

Unifiller also has a diverse range of nozzles to help bakers find the right fit for the batter, desired weight and the depositor it’s attaching too.

“The correct combination of depositor and nozzle provides for the best accuracy in terms of portion size, spreading and clean cutoff,” Mr. Sigrist said.

Servo technology also can play a role in preventing leaks and drips. In addition to providing control over deposit weights, it gives precise control over the rotary valve.

“The rotary valve is what opens and closes when the batter comes out,” Mr. Peck explained.

ET Oakes introduced a servo-driven rotary valve system to give bakers the cleanest cut-off possible.

“Some systems drip and don’t have a clean cut-off when the valve closes, and there are drips, which can wind up on top of the pan instead of inside the pan,” he said. “Our servo-­driven rotary valve systems have a very clean cut-off so there aren’t any drips or waste.”

Bakers can take advantage of the plethora of depositing technology out there to achieve the most precise portions and eliminate waste. Improved accuracy means bakers will maintain production efficiencies down the line and deliver a well-baked product to the consumer.

This article is an excerpt from the March 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on batter depositing, click here.