Upgrading technology only takes a little logical thinking and realizing that everything seems impossible until it’s not. That’s what many bakeries discovered during the pandemic. Specifically, they had to explore all options involving how to boost the capacity of their ingredient handling systems in the near term until they could add silos or make major capital investments that might require a time-consuming facility expansion.

Experts in Baking & Snack’s March feature on ingredient handling offered several Pro Tips to expand capacity in the near term. One relatively easy and noninvasive solution is to add a dual discharge bin bottom, providing a second ingredient transfer system to satisfy increased demand to additional usage points. Additionally, to increase the capacity of delivery systems, consider upgrading control platforms or optimizing them to create the greatest efficiencies. On a two-silo flour system that isn’t keeping up with production, focus on the blower, valve and tubing designs to optimize performance to accelerate the system’s flow rate of the ingredient.

Bakers also should consider intermediate bins. They’re smaller — generally only 10% to 25% of the silo’s storage capacity — and can be placed inside the building near high demand production equipment. These bins provide additional storage as well as a buffer should silos require downtime. Totes also can be incorporated to boost capacity ingredient handling and batching systems or reduce batch time in mixing if a particular ingredient has been a bottleneck.

With more people becoming vaccinated, bakers are finally opening their doors to delayed capital spending projects. It just takes a few tips to help bridge the gap until that time comes.