Here’s a Pro Tip — or a production tip — for any baker or snack maker who is looking to start up a new line. Even before producing the first Danish, roll or handheld snack on the equipment, make sure to test, retest and document every key parameter to avoid repeating costly mistakes. Often that means a certain amount of trial and error, but once the required product is within spec, bakers can then start baselining other items. From there, they can create a procedural checklist for equipment, ingredients and packaging materials.

Overall, factory acceptance tests (FATs) identify potential problems before shipping the equipment. After installation, bakers should then perform a site acceptance test to prove that the line meets its design specifications. Here, all key performance indicators are once again specified and measured. After a successful FAT, they should then proceed with an initial “soft start” with the goal of getting into full production after a few days.

“After all, you should have all the settings and parameters from the first machine test as well as the FAT setting,” one supplier told Baking & Snack for its May feature on sweet goods processing. “The handshakes between upstream and downstream equipment is usually the only untested portion of the installation. The equipment’s performance is always discussed early in the process and should be the standard by which it is judged.”

When it comes to starting up, don’t try to cut the FAT and leave anything to chance. Relying on a disciplined, methodical process is the best way to get everything up and running in the quickest possible way.