Bakeries are busy places, so bakers may be tempted to skip a maintenance task or two occasionally. Or regularly. Equipment manufacturers say that is a mistake.

“Bakers are always looking to simplify maintenance and increase efficiency,” said John Giacoio, vice president of sales, Rheon USA. “Maintenance is something that needs to be done on a regular basis and not just when the line is having issues. This is a proactive approach and not a reactive approach. In doing this you can reduce time and loss of production.”

Every component on the sheeting lines must be checked regularly for variances.

“Maintaining tight transfer tolerances is crucial in order to have a consistent shape enter the oven,” said Ken Zvoncheck, director, process technology, Reading Bakery Systems. “Additionally, gauge roll bearing maintenance must be monitored as this will directly affect sheet thickness.”

Digital monitors are becoming vital tools in bakeries because they detect variances that could cause problems in the future. The Fritsch Smart Product Insights (SPI) is a dashboard that provides live insights into production.

“From the data now presented by SPI, customers can determine exactly what causes disruptions or malfunctions and take suitable actions to prevent these unplanned equipment downtimes,” said Matt Zielsdorf, director of sales for Fritsch, a Multivac company.

Not only is regular maintenance a key component of efficient operations, keeping equipment clean is vital.

“Maintenance increases the longevity of the line elements and maintains a high level of performance,” said Marco Vidale, head of demo bakery at Rondo. “Accessibility for cleaning is a must.”

Preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure consistent uptime for machinery.

“Greasing the line regularly, certainly if this is a washdown environment, and proper sanitation are vital in the longevity of the line,” said Nick Magistrelli, vice president of sales, Rademaker USA.

Sometimes even the best maintained equipment fails or cannot keep up with production needed on the line. 

“Just like a car, any mechanical device will start to wear after time,” Mr. Zvoncheck said. “However, sometimes it is just more economical to replace equipmentSigns of this can be too much variation in sheet thickness.”

Equipment that increases throughput may also spur busy bakers to make a new purchase.

“It is sometimes very apparent that you need to upgrade your sheeting equipment as new innovations come to market,” Mr. Giacoio said. “As customers push for innovation, it makes the equipment suppliers look for better ways to increase quality and reduce waste.”

Bakers must be able to rely on their equipment running consistently. Those who maintain it and pay attention to details can avoid problems down the line.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Sheeting & Laminating, click here.