Baking equipment is now designed with a clean state of mind.

“Food safety is always a concern in the bakery industry, and it encompasses hygiene, cross-contamination prevention and proper handling of ingredients and equipment,” said Sonia Bal, director of global marketing, Unifiller Systems. “When it comes to unbaked applications like icing and glazing, there are specific considerations to ensure food safety.”

She suggested depositors and icing and glazing equipment should feature smooth surfaces without crevices or hard-to-reach areas where food particles or pathogens can accumulate.

Materials used should be food-grade, non-toxic and easy to sanitize. These systems should also come with effective sealing mechanisms to prevent leakage or seepage, minimizing the risk of microbial contamination.

Moreover, Ms. Bal pointed out that equipment should be easily disassembled and cleaned thoroughly to prevent the buildup of residues or bacteria. Removable parts and accessibility to critical areas aid in effective sanitation practices.

“Manufacturers may incorporate tool-less disassembly features, such as quick-release mechanisms, snap-fit connections or easily accessible fasteners,” she explained. “This allows operators to disassemble and reassemble the equipment without the need for additional tools, streamlining maintenance and changeover processes.”

Generally speaking, equipment built today is much easier to clean and sanitize than systems built a few years ago, noted Chuck Sena, director of sales and marketing, Axis Automation.

“We find that the bakery industry is still learning the nuances of navigating the alphabet soup of standards organizations, accrediting and certifying bodies, regulatory agencies and third-party inspections,” he observed. “Without a clear direction from the baker in the upfront definition of the cleaning and sanitation requirements, equipment suppliers may build to different guidelines.”

Mr. Sena added that the different approaches to equipment flexibility are part of the solution. Some bakers are setting up lines and buying duplicate sets of change parts to help make cleaning and sanitation of a line during a production run faster and easier.

“Instead of breaking down a machine completely for an allergen clean, they can simply remove one set of tools, clean and sanitize the remaining surfaces, and plug in change parts that were cleaned offline, maximizing available production time and capacity,” he explained. “Taking this approach also has the benefit of allowing companies to conduct some of their cleaning and sanitizing work at the same time product is running.

“By distributing the cleaning and sanitation process over the course of an entire workday instead of limiting it to a single shift, companies may be able to deploy their personnel differently and rebalance their headcount distribution,” he added.

Hinds-Bock, a Middleby Bakery company, offers tilt hoppers on its depositors for quick access by lowering the overall height an employee must reach during the sanitation process. The design also exposes the top intake ports in the main product head to facilitate cleaning.

Removable, complete piston strong back assemblies are used for quick disassembly of all the pistons at one time instead of removing them one by one, noted Rod Gregg, executive vice president of Middleby Cos., Hinds-Bock and Inline Filling Systems. 

Smooth surfaces on the Vemag's stainless steel depositor housing prevent accumulation of product residues, said John McIsaac, vice president of strategic business development for Reiser.

The Vemag’s double-screw pumping system can be quickly removed while all electrical components are protected with a “box-in-box” design to make them impervious to water.

Moreover, he said, the product path is 100% accessible for easy cleaning and inspection, and the depositor can be cleaned with high-pressure equipment.

Moreover, he said, the product path is 100% accessible for easy cleaning and inspection, and the depositor can be cleaned with high-pressure equipment. 

Likewise, all Rademaker depositors are washdown, and its equipment is designed to be US Department of Agriculture compliant for more than 25 years, said Nick Magistrelli, vice president of sales, Rademaker USA.

“Food safety and sanitation are among the top two factors that come into play when we design depositors and other components on an industrial line,” he observed. “Most of the time, we will put these pluggable units on wheels, depending on their size. That makes it easy to take the unit offline to a wash area, break it down with minimal parts and using few or no tools, so that you can fully sanitize that depositor, let it dry and quickly piece it back together so you can wheel it back into production.”

On some of these high-volume lines, where changeovers must be kept to a minimum, bakeries will have multiple depositors, sometimes even redundant depositors, to keep production moving as much as possible.

“They can wheel in a depositor, and after the production run, wheel it out for sanitizing while the second depositor is wheeled in to create products with a different filling,” Mr. Magistrelli said.

To reduce sanitation time, Burford Corp. introduced the Model FIP824 flush-in-place system for its spray applicator.

While a complete inspection and cleaning of the fluid path is still recommended on planned intervals, the FIP824 automates the sanitation and flushing process by dosing in a sanitizing agent, creating turbulent flow and running rinse cycles to remove glaze material from the fluid path and manifolds between product runs, noted Josh Hughes, sales account manager, Burford, a Middleby Bakery company.

“By automating this cycle, the Model FIP824 greatly increases the efficiency of the sanitation process and frees up time for team members to perform other duties,” he observed.

Mr. Hughes added that the fluid path of the spray applicator is designed to allow the sanitation staff to disassemble and reassemble it without tools when performing a complete inspection and cleaning without needing assistance from the maintenance department.

GOE/Amherst Stainless Fabrication Systems offers an Assisted Cleaning System (ACS) that helps operators with sanitation. Norm Searle, sales and marketing, explained the ACS starts with a rinse cycle of hot water piped to a series of spray nozzles and spray bars located throughout the system.

The programmable-controlled process first cleans the top of the sprayer and cycles through each section of the glazing system until the lowest section is reached with the wastewater running to a floor drain or tote.

The second cycle goes through the same process with a cleaning/washing solution. Once completed, a final rinse of hot water is pumped through the system using the same process.

While most bakers don’t have to worry about sanitation as much as companies in the meat industry and others, there are other concerns.

“It’s just not sanitation, though, it’s about cross contamination with allergens; allergens can seriously harm people if they are unaware,” said Jamie Bobyk, marketing manager, Apex Motion Control. “If you don’t have a proper maintenance and cleaning procedure in place, as well as isolating certain areas of your plant that contain food safety allergens, you will expose your entire company to not only bad publicity with safety recalls but also a blow to your bottom line during the recall, not to mention future brand trust.”

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