If dividing is the pizza dough forming technology of choice, bakers should consider systems that are gentle on dough and accurately control dough weights. Dividers can improve finished product quality, reduce dough waste and decrease ingredient consumption.

“Our Vemag pizza dough divider features a positive displacement double-screw pump that ensures gentle and consistent handling of the dough without overworking it and exact-weight portions that virtually eliminate giveaway,”said Jeff Zeak, national development manager, bakery, Reiser. “The double-screw transports the dough from the hopper to the machine outlet without damaging or compressing it.”

AMF’s PizzaFlex Divider for personal-sized pizzas deposits directly onto a baking tray. It was designed to handle doughs in the 40% absorption range and is capable of depositing eight rows of pucks at high speed.

Handtmann dividers reduce friction on the dough by shrinking the product path from divider to the proofer or press. Cesar Zelaya, bakery sales and technology manager for Handtmann, said the dividers can produce gram-sensitive dough balls for high-throughput pizza lines. Additionally, Handtmann works with smaller bakeries looking to produce more artisan-style pizzas.

In a partnership with Apex Motion Control, Handtmann is combining its VF838 S Vacuum Filler with Apex’s Baker-Bot to round pizza dough and load it onto trays robotically. The VF838 forms the pizza dough balls, then loads them onto a conveyor. Then, the Baker-Bot grabs a tray and catches the dough as it falls off the conveyor. The combined automated system can form and transfer dough at rates up to 60 dough balls per minute.

“With Handtmann, we came up with an autonomous working cell that takes care of dividing the dough, rounding the dough piece and then with the Baker-Bot, getting it into the proofing box,” said Martin Riis, director of sales and marketing, Apex Motion Control.

The Baker-Bot works on its own or next to bakery personnel. Mr. Riis explained that the need to space employees out on a line because of COVID-19 concerns is leading bakers to look for new ways to move the same amounts of dough with fewer people.

This article is an excerpt from the September 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on pizza technology, click here.