The biggest hurdle with dividing a diverse portfolio is the range of absorptions.

“With varied absorption often comes ‘floor resting’ and a more open structure,” said Patrick Nagel, key account sales manager, WP Bakery Group USA.

Automation not only allows dividers to cut more accurately, but it also helps them handle a wide variety of doughs.

Higher-absorption doughs need to be handled more delicately by dividers than conventional products. These doughs often have an open cell structure that can be de-gassed, which will prevent the dough from realizing its product characteristics at the end of the line. To prevent de-gassing, WP dividers can adjust the pressure of the divider to be gentler. WP Haton dividers include the Voluminator, a feature that controls the spring pressure from the main divider pistons. This enables it to portion dough gently while maintaining a high weight accuracy.

The higher the absorption, the more important delicate dividing becomes.

“Bakers need to be aware that the dough weight accuracy generally declines the more moisture a dough contains,” said Richard Breeswine, president and chief executive officer, Koenig Bakery Systems.

To protect the dough structure and provide the same level of accuracy, equipment has to meet the dough where it is.

“The equipment needs to match the dough’s requirements and realize the best end product quality,” he continued.

Koenig designs its equipment with this in mind. For these sensitive doughs, Mr. Breeswine recommended the Rex system that features gentle dough processing. In this divider, the dough is only pushed into the pistons as often as necessary to fill the pistons.

To ensure its equipment suits the dough being processed, Reiser’s bakery specialists work with the baker and the product. Reiser bases its dividers on double-screw technology. The infeed system gently loads the double-screw, which then scales the product accurately at high speeds.

 “The flexibility of the double-screw also allows us to be ready to handle different products, both now and in the future,” said John McIsaac, director of strategic business development, Reiser.

Depending on the machine’s final setup, Reiser’s dividers can handle absorption rates of 50% and more. Specialty products, such as gluten-free, might need customized attachments that the company can design to form and cut the dough.

Handtmann also offers different pump configurations to suit different doughs from low-absorption bagel dough to pizza dough to high-absorption English muffins. The vacuum level in the divider pumphouse can be adjusted to create consistent dough flow regardless of the absorption level or variations in formulation.

For high-absorption doughs, like English muffins, AMF Bakery Systems usually recommends its RollFlex Divider or MuffinFlex Divider, both designed to handle slack doughs. The company’s DoFlow and Ultraflow Developers also allow bakers to run tight- and open-grain breads on the same divider with just a bypass, according to Bruce Campbell, vice-president, dough processing technologies, AMF Bakery Systems.

To successfully change from one dough to the next, AMF offers simple controls with recipe management.

“One-push-button recipe management makes it efficient for operators to run the line at high speeds,” Mr. Campbell said.

Rheon designed its stress-free dividers to handle a wide range of dough types, including an 85% absorption ciabatta.

“It’s a simple design backed by years of technology,” Mr. Giacoio said.

By employing the latest technology in dividers and automation software, bakeries can ensure consistency and faster production.

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