Closing machinery on a bread bagging line is a reliable workhorse in bakeries, but they need to be well maintained through consistent checks and servicing.

“Bakeries have streamlined to such a point that they now have minimal downtime for preventative maintenance,” said Mitch Lindsey, senior sales account manager for Burford Corp., a Middleby Bakery company. “And with little time, it’s spent on the larger equipment such as ovens, proofers, coolers, etc.”

He said a lot of bakeries have a dedicated tech for packaging lines, which helps them run optimally.

“This can help them to be more familiar with that equipment and to take ownership of the equipment they are responsible for,” Mr. Lindsey said.

Making fine-tuned adjustments for each product also helps the line run smoothly.

“It becomes important when you’re changing out products,” said Ron Cardey, senior vice president, customer engagement, Kwik Lok. “Is the product length different? Is the weight different? Is it sliced or unsliced? Is there a different mill thickness of the packaging? All of those things begin to enter into the interplay between slicer, bagger, closing head down to the end of the line.”

With ongoing supply chain problems, bakeries should keep vital spare parts for each piece of equipment on hand.

 “We know what the wear parts are on that machine, and we provide that information to our customers,” Mr. Cardey said. “They can order those parts and have them in inventory. So as they’re doing their preventative maintenance, they can just go to their parts room, get that part, replace it and keep everything moving.”

Kwik Lok needs 4 inches of neck on the bag to properly gather and close it. The company offers many varieties of closure sizes. It also has traditional and greener Eco-Loks, which are made with a bio-based starch polymer that will break down in a few years vs. the traditional product that takes hundreds of years.

“We have a variety of more sustainable Lok options for customers in different parts of the world,” Mr. Cardey said. “The one overriding thing on our end is no matter what we come out with from a material standpoint, it has to function in the machines. We already have tens of thousands in the field, so the functionality has to be there.”

This article is an excerpt from the March 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Sliced Bread Packaging, click here.