When it comes to automation, reinventing the wheel isn’t always necessary. Sometimes it’s the new and improved versions that provide the benefits bakers need to operate more profitably.

At the 2022 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), Burford Corp. featured its Smart Seeder Plus that relies on a new design that provides up to 20% greater seed savings for applications on 4-inch buns than the previous model.

Specifically, the new design applies seeds in a round pattern instead of a square. 

“We designed a patent-pending rotary template that slides in around the hopper and the mandrel. This servo-controlled template is timed with the pan and as those seeds drop out to the product, they fall through the rotating openings. Any seeds that don’t fall through get caught by the template and immediately returned to the hopper for reuse,” noted Clay Miller, president, Burford. “It drastically reduces the number of seeds in between the cavities, which keeps the pan cleaner as well.”

He added the improvements came at the request of high-capacity bun producers seeking to reduce ingredient costs. In the past, the square mandrel design dictated the pattern, but the new, round design applies seeds more precisely while reclaiming toppings before they hit the pan. This was a critical design feature to prevent the reclaimed toppings from becoming contaminated.

“Sesame has been a pricey ingredient for years, and it really drives the necessity for a system like this,” he said. “This innovation is a result of both savings initiatives and an increased awareness to improve sanitation.”

Additionally, the Smart Seeder Plus provides a compact footprint and an on-the-fly delivery system.

“We don’t stop the pan and the design doesn’t require any back-and-forth movement,” Mr. Miller said. “This continuous motion allows us to keep up with the high-speed lines in today’s plants.”

Meanwhile, Gemini Bakery Equipment offers a customizable line of bread seed topping equipment that features remote bulk supply to multiple application systems.

“Our bread seed topping systems provide for an adjustable light-to-heavy coating of seeds with a localized vacuum recovery and recirculation system and a topping hopper refill feature to minimize waste and reduce labor,” said Jerry Murphy, vice president of sales, Gemini Bakery Equipment

Axis Automation’s new Apex Series builds on the performance of its original topping system. The company noted the Apex Series features a simplified design that is easier to operate and maintain, and it offers precision and accuracy. The new series comes in five standard widths as well as custom-designed dimensions.

At IBIE 2022, Mr. Murphy said, Gemini highlighted its partnership with FoodJet to offer precision sauce and topping applicators that include vision technology coupled with high-speed nozzle activation to apply viscous materials and large particulates. He added the menu-driven systems include improved clean-in-place (CIP) capabilities that reduce waste during changeovers.

“This freeform vision technology allows for changeovers on the fly for changes of the shape and size of the item being topped,” he said. “For changes in the topping material, the CIP features allow for quick cleaning of the system with minimal disassembly or risk of losing parts.”

AMF Tromp offers updated systems for dry, frozen and moist ingredients. Hans Besems, executive product manager, AMF Tromp, an AMF Bakery Systems brand, said the waterfall applicator for high-capacity toppings offers a belt-wide strewing bed, and unused ingredients are recycled continuously until a changeover or cleaning cycle.

The target applicator provides specific placement of toppings onto crusts and flatbreads beneath the system. He added the Smart Applicator uses AI and machine-learning to make these machines even better.

“Digital images of the product are analyzed in real time, and settings on the applicator change immediately to ensure optimal product quality and consistency,” Mr. Besems explained. “Eliminating waste and improving product quality with each production run with less operator intervention needed are benefits.