To build great products and strong business relationships, ask what customers want; don’t tell them. That’s been the core tenant of Babbco since Charles Babb founded it in 1918. It’s also a philosophy that has never resounded more than after the company renovated its Babbco Innovation Center this year.
The renovations enhance the space where the company’s experts listen to bakers, teach them about new technologies and work together to create new and improved products. Originally built in 2004, the Innovation Center is a 15,000-square-foot facility that includes a training center, R.&D. lab, conference room and test oven center. It sits at the heart of the company’s 75,000-square-foot executive offices and design and manufacturing headquarters in Raynham, Mass.
“Babbco’s Innovation Center was designed with our valued customers and prospective clients in mind,” said Nathan Stockton, sales manager, Babbco. “Our ultimate goal is to provide an inviting, innovative and collaborative workspace.”
In the Innovation Center, bakers have access to new equipment, including mixing, sheeting, depositing, proofing and retarding, plus moisture analysis, computerized data loggers and a walk-in refrigerator and freezer. The center also houses the company’s four tunnel ovens.
“Customers can test on our air impingement oven with independent steam section, our high-temperature direct-fired oven, our steel band oven and our radiant oven,” Mr. Stockton said.
Bakers can also use Babbco’s high-velocity impingement air test cooler. By using temperature probes and graphing results, R.&D. personnel compare accelerated cooling methods and evaluate their impact on production throughput, product quality and consistency.
Being located at Babbco’s manufacturing headquarters also offers benefits. In-house experts can walk bakers through the automated in-plant production process and educate them on assembly, maintenance and operation.
“This provides a unique opportunity for our valued customers and prospective clients to use our world-class facilities to test their products and have exclusive access to working with our industry-leading personnel all under one roof,” Mr. Stockton said.
Training is critical for prospective clients and bakers who are purchasing one of Babbco’s tunnel ovens. Each industrial oven includes a comprehensive onsite training session. Babbco installation professionals work closely with clients to provide operator, sanitation and maintenance training. Engineers also review fully assembled and tested ovens in the plant prior to shipment. Because the ovens are built in modular sections and preassembled, pre-wired and made ready for factory acceptance tests, delivery can be expedited, and customers know exactly what to expect.
Innovation Center design professionals can assure bakers that the ovens will work on their lines, and design engineers can use 3-D Solidworks CAD/CAM design software to evaluate and fine-tune all aspects of a new project. Mr. Stockton said bakers should use the Innovation Center as a research facility to refine baking processes, establish product-specific bake times and oven settings and confirm product quality. It offers a space to also test throughput prior to purchase and installation and determine exact oven size and build requirements. The center also creates a space to experience and test different baking technologies to improve quality and increase capacity by reducing costs and maximizing plant space.