In September 2017, Rademaker opened its Research & Development Centre at its already established Technology Centre in Culemborg, The Netherlands. At the foundation of Rademaker’s expanding facility is the belief that in order to innovate, the baking industry needs to keep learning. The center provides space for bakers from around the world to innovate with and improve their product lines. Together with the Rademaker Academy, a team of technologists, service engineers and commissioners offer training courses at the facility, which the company makes it a hub of learning as much as innovation.

This year, the facility is expanding up to 23,600 square feet and will house dough processing equipment for a wide range of bread and laminated products like flatbreads and croissants. Updated modules also will be available to test pizzas, pies and other specialty items.

The temperature-controlled testing rooms can be adjusted to meet specific atmospheric demands while cooling, proofing, resting and oven systems all ensure quality test products that replicate scaled-up bakery operations. To help develop new products, Rademaker also offers consultants for technical and economic issues. The consultants analyze reference products, production processes and ingredients to find the best solution for individual bakers.

“Our Technology Centre features several pilot lines for any bakery product, whether bread, puff pastries, croissants, pizzas and flatbread, or specialties such as gluten-free or reduced salt products,” said Nick Magistrelli, vice-president of sales, Rademaker USA. “Our new R.&D. and product development teams work together with customers, and machine and unit prototypes are intensely tested and improved. Because of this, we can develop solutions that have added value for bakeries.”

The expanded center houses a total of five production lines. Not only is it critical to be able to test new products on these full production lines, Mr. Magistrelli said, but it’s also important for bakers to know how to transfer that knowledge back to their bakeries. Understanding how to install and start up a production line is a challenge that persists beyond a visit to the facility.

“Problems occur when detailed know-how about the sheeting process, production line operation and dough processing is lacking,” Mr. Magistrelli said. “This results in problems that will affect the overall production costs and product quality.”

So, the Rademaker Academy offers training to help companies that might be shifting to more advanced forms of sheeting technology. The Rademaker Academy shares its expertise with bakers to maximize the profitability of any new Rademaker technology.

“We train our customers at a high level to operate the installed machines as profitably and efficiently as possible,” Mr. Magistrelli said. “This includes training for operators or other customized technical training.”

Three types of training offered include: basic operator instruction to ensure that the production line runs efficiently; an advanced course that includes operation, fine-tuning, maintenance, cleaning and process optimization, and, finally, consultant guidance that focuses on improving line and process efficiency. Mr. Magistrelli said this training helps bakers improve their operations in a way that is sustainable over the long term. And the academy is finding new ways to educate the industry.

“A part of the training that we offer is set in a virtual reality environment,” Mr. Magistrelli said. “We are able to bring a ‘real’ situation to the trainees without affecting actual production process or making extra costs.”

This training begins at the Technology Centre, where customers learn about Rademaker’s entire line of sheeting technologies. Demonstrations at the facility allow bakers to discover and experience new ways to operate production lines at the industrial level.

Through a highly developed demonstration, innovative and educational process, Rademaker is helping industrial bakeries find new ways to create better baked foods.