While there are strategies and workarounds to find expansion for ingredient handling in the margins of a plant, the bakery ideally would have planned for expansion and has the space. As a company expands its ingredient handling system, that is a good time to look even further into the future.

“Most equipment and systems can be supplied with features that allow for inexpensive future additions that can greatly expand the capacities of the system,” said Jason Stricker, director of sales and marketing, Shick Esteve. “This does require some future thought from the customer so that we can strategically apply those features.”

Designing a system so that it is easy to add ingredient capacity or feed ingredients to future production lines is a common strategy for making growth easier and more cost effective.

“Anytime KB Systems designs a system, we configure it for future expansion,” said Jerry Murphy, vice president, sales and marketing, Gemini Bakery Equipment/KB Systems. That includes space to accommodate more storage units, whether indoor bins or outdoor silos, as well as designing the conveying system to easily incorporate more weigh hoppers.

When installing silos, planning for the future looks like pouring additional concrete to create a slab to hold future silos to cut down on construction costs as the bakery grows.

“Others may intentionally oversize their conveying systems knowing they will need that capacity in the future,” said Eric Kartlick, regional sales manager for North and Southeastern regions, Zeppelin Systems USA. “It usually comes down to how confident they are in knowing they’ll need the additional capacity in the future and be willing to pay for some of that flexibility with today’s investment.”

Planning in this way and investing appropriately allows bakers to save money and time down the road when they are ready to expand their operations again. While the economy and business can be unpredictable at times, Darren Adams, vice president, engineering, The Fred D. Pfening Co., suggested a more optimistic approach.

“You have to assume that you never are going to want less out of the system,” he said. “Population is growing, and you want your business to grow; you want to be more effective and efficient at manufacturing the product. If you think you’re going to need X, go ahead and design for 2X and be prepared to always be able to fill that demand.”

Then, bakeries will always be ready to grow.

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