Nobody has time to deal with something that’s high maintenance. To enhance a bakery’s performance, ovens now come with several advances such as predictive lubrication for the drive chains or digital controls that control temperature, energy consumption, exhaust and moisture levels. In addition, secure networking allows for daily cloud uploads to analyze production throughput vs. fuel consumption while feed-forward loops connect the different areas of the bakery to increase efficiency.

In the September issue of Baking & Snack, industry experts explained that all these technologies will give the baker a better understanding of oven operation and efficiencies and lead to more predictive maintenance. The oven is no longer a black box with a time and temperature dial.

To optimize oven efficiency, many bakers have turned to predictive maintenance. This option typically relies on digital monitoring to anticipate potential breakdowns and alert bakers via email or text when an anomaly or a drift in performance is detected.

Other bakeries rely on a manufacturing execution system that provides real-time performance data by measuring key performance indicators such as downtime, production rates and other factors to enhance efficiency and identify the root cause of operational issues. Other operations are implementing a reliability model that measures equipment performance metrics to help determine why a certain machine has so many work orders or needs additional replacement parts. For some engineers, however, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, especially for smaller wholesale bakeries that may not have the ability to hire highly trained maintenance personnel. For them, avoiding complexity ultimately makes an oven less maintenance dependent.