Even before selling the first Danish, muffin or handheld snack on a new production line, make sure to test, retest and document every key parameter to avoid repeating costly mistakes.

“At startup, there’s going to be a certain amount of trial and error, and once the required product is within spec, you can start baselining products,” said David Moline, vice president of sales and marketing, Moline Machinery.

That means create a procedural checklist for equipment, ingredients and packaging materials.

“Know and understand the processing parameters and cycle times of each piece of equipment and how they are integrated into the system to maintain consistency throughout the process,” said Randy Kelly, application specialists, Fritsch, a Multivac company.

Coen Nikkels, manager of marketing and business development for Rondo, noted that factory acceptance tests (FAT) identify potential problems before shipping. After installation and startup, Rondo and the baker then perform a site acceptance test to prove that the line meets its design specifications. All key performance indicators are specified and measured in this procedure.

During the FAT and subsequent startup, Nick Magistrelli, vice president of sales, Rademaker USA, said the company relies on its Academy program to accelerate the learning curve and allow line operators to take ownership of the new equipment.

After a successful FAT, John Giacoio, vice president of sales, Rheon USA, recommended 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,” Mr. Giacoio said. “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.”

This article is an excerpt from the May 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on sweet goods tech, click here.