Batters with whole fruit inclusions require the most delicate depositing, and many systems are designed to prevent damaging fruit and eliminate bleeding of their colors into the batter.

For instance, Unifiller’s new depositor heads or nozzles with large passages and openings combined with adjustable depositing speeds provide innovative ways to avoid damaging or distorting of inclusions, noted Sonia Bal, director of global marketing, Unifiller Systems.

Meanwhile, E.T. Oakes provides a slurry mixer with a dual-tank, inclined agitated pump assembly system for gently incorporating particulates or inclusions like frozen blueberries throughout a muffin batter.

Bob Peck, vice president of engineering, explained that the slurry mixer pumps the batter into the first tank. After an operator dumps in the frozen blueberries that eventually settle to the bottom of the batch, a slow-moving agitator with a spherical design then folds in these inclusions without upsetting the cell structure of the batter or damaging the inclusions. 

“The design is critical because it doesn’t create turbulent flow that is very aggressive and spiraling. That’s how you damage the blueberries,” Mr. Peck said. “The laminator flow manifold creates an easy, steady flow, not turbulent.”

Next, a dual-screw pump sends the batter into a laminar flow depositing manifold designed with a spherical radius so that the blueberries don’t get hung up on any sharp corners. 

Metering valves then accurately distribute batter to each of the depositor’s outlets.

“The metering valves even out the pressure drop across the manifold equally distributing the muffin batter coming out of, let’s say, an 18-across depositor,” Mr. Peck explained.

Other components such as process controls and HMIs provide simple, seamless management of recipes that reduce mistakes and assist with more complex multi-flavor batter products.

“Servo-driven depositors are now becoming much more common as they greatly improve speed and accuracy of the deposit and use less energy than traditional pneumatically driven pistons,” said Rod Gregg, executive vice president of Middleby Cos., Hinds-Bock and Inline Filling Systems.

Ms. Bal suggested operator-friendly interfaces make it easier to set up, run and monitor the equipment, reducing the training time required for new personnel.

“With simplified operation, bakery depositors can be operated effectively by a smaller workforce,” she said.

She added that servo-driven depositors, such as Unifiller’s Pro Series, precisely control the speed, volume and placement of deposits while reducing waste and ensuring the gentle handling of delicate inclusions.

Bakeries are also incorporating more sophisticated control systems into depositors, using sensors, cameras and software algorithms to enhance accuracy. 

“Vision systems are being integrated into depositing technology to ensure accurate placement of delicate inclusions,” Ms. Bal pointed out. “These systems can detect variations in product shape, size or position, enabling adjustments in real-time for optimal accuracy.”

Moreover, she said, these systems provide real-time feedback that allow Unifiller to troubleshoot problems or train employees remotely while reducing downtime and enhancing a depositor’s performance.

Depositors from AMF Tromp, a brand of AMF Bakery Systems, come in multiple configurations to accurately handle a variety of sauces, toppings, batters and fillings. 

Designed for cookies, batters and more, AMF Tromp’s Unimac universal depositor comes in a compact, modular design that features two depositing heads for quick changeovers.

The company said its multiple tooling options and program capabilities provide the option to run up to seven pans per minute using standard 18-by-26-inch sheet pans.

For pizzas, AMF Tromp’s Powershot Depositor dispenses targeted, smooth sauce on top of pizzas with the volume individually controlled by lanes for pre- and post-baking sauce application. The company noted its “no product, no deposit” detection offers improved accuracy and lower waste, even on high-speed lines.

This article is an excerpt from the July 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Depositing, Icing, Glazing, click here.