Automated machinery: Putting the pieces together

Automated machinery: Putting the pieces together

Baker Perkins and Reading Bakery Systems discuss the benefits of repairing and upgrading existing machinery, to save cost, increase efficiency and reduce waste


New technology is constantly being developed, and automated machinery for the bakery market is allowing production to be smooth, consistent and reliable. However, machinery can reach the end of their life cycle, and it can be too costly to replace, not to mention a waste if it is a simple fix. Engineers in food processing have been developing new and innovative ways they can improve performance and upgrade existing machinery, improving the economic benefits and service life of the product.

Baker Perkins continuously develops equipment to improve performance and reduce cost of ownership. Many developments are available as upgrades for existing machinery; they address problems such as insufficient capacity, poor reliability and outdated hygiene standards. Original machinery performance can be exceeded, and service life given a worthwhile extension.

Genuine Baker Perkins parts are made to the original specification. They can be fitted without adjustment or modification and provide maximum performance and service life and expert advice is available from their team of product specialists. They use extensive technical records, and consult their design and process technologists to identify the most appropriate original or upgraded part. The result is that the parts they supply always offer the best value for money. All Baker Perkins parts carry a 12-month warrant and they also have the reassurance of full process and technical support from the Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Available upgrades for Baker Perkins’ Microfilm cookers include:

Sugar-free cooking – Existing Microfilm cookers can be upgraded to cook sugar free syrups using polyols. The unit is self contained and skid mounted and sits alongside the existing Microfilm cooker. No modifications to the cooker are required and the ability to cook sugar syrups is retained.

Indirect condenser conversion – This skid mounted unit reduces water and energy consumption on Microfilm cookers by using recirculating cooling water to condense flashed off vapour.

Energy saving – Flash vapour released by the product between the pre and final-cook stages can be captured and passed through a heat exchanger to heat water for use in hot water systems or process applications.

High temperature condensate from the steam heating system for the Microfilm tube can be used to generate flash steam used in the syrup pre-cooker. This lowers the overall steam requirement.

Breaking it down

Baker Perkins offer a number of upgrades throughout its biscuit, cookie and cracker portfolio, for example the upgrades available for Baker Perkins’ sandwiching equipment include:

New design stencils – Stencils designed with half the number of components bring a similar reduction in strip down, cleaning and rebuild time and cost. A reduction in the number of seals cuts the cost of replacement. Stencils can be designed with non-interchangeable components and assemblies. This eliminates the possibility of cross-contamination during cleaning or maintenance in multi-plant factories.

Cream hopper hygiene – New design cream hoppers cut cleaning needs. An open frame allows waste to fall directly into bins under the machine. The new metal frame can be hosed down, and the hoppers are portable.

Pump maintenance – Packed gland pumps seals can now be upgraded to O ring seals. These are more hygienic; they are front loading and can be changed extremely quickly.

Part identification – It may be necessary to replace hopper and stencil parts in a machine after cleaning or maintenance. The reasons include elimination of cross-contamination. In multi-plant factories, Baker Perkins can mark parts such as hopper augers and stirrers to differentiate them and remove operator error.

Lubrication free pin chains – The pin chains carrying biscuits through the sandwiching machine can be upgraded from carbon steel to non-corrosive and lubrication free. The benefits are longer life and reduced cleaning.

Cleaning brushes for pin chains – Rotary brushes can be retrofitted to maintain cleanliness of the working face of the pins, replacing static brushes. Rotary brushes provide more effective cleaning. They can be rapidly removed for cleaning or replacement.

Control sensors for biscuit feed – Electric sensors can be retrofitted to stop biscuit feed after a pre-programmed number of biscuits are missing. The reaction is far faster than an operator. Mis-feed of the lower biscuit results in deposited cream fouling the machine. Mis-feed of the top biscuit results in wasted product. Both may cause costly stoppages for cleaning.

Reading Bakery Systems also offers an upgrade service. Their upgrades and retrofits restore the equipment to “better than new condition” for many more years of productive and efficient operation. RBS also services equipment built by other bakery equipment suppliers.

For example, their doughbot upgrades include:
Loaf Maker Sanilite Hopper Upgrade – Switch from your current stainless steel hopper to their new sanilite hopper design. The new hopper provides a smooth yet durable surface that makes dough delivery and sanitation easier.

Loaf Maker Auger Upgrade: Replace your old Loaf Maker augers with their new one piece design. New augers have no pins to shear off and no plugs to fall out into the dough. These augers are more durable and more sanitary than the original design.

Loaf Maker Feed Roll Drive Upgrade: Switch to individual drives for your Loaf Maker feed rolls and see improved dough control, less dough damage, and more consistent loaf weights.

Ball Screw Upgrade: For customers having trouble getting parts for their Rapidtrak, RBS offers to upgrade to their new ball screw design for increased life and easier operation of the Shuttle System.


Rebuilding machinery

Machines nearing the end of their useful life can often be revitalised by rebuilding This is often a cost-effective way to restore the performance and reliability of a machine and extend its life. Rebuilding can take place either on-site, or in a Baker Perkins factory.

Rebuilds use proven Baker Perkins Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts so high quality and long life are assured. These are made to the original or improved specifications.

An example of a rebuild option is the high speed mixers. Even when a rebuild is required, it is likely that the essential core components of the mixer remain sound – the mixing blade, frame and the bowl.

A rebuild would therefore involve the following:

  • Renewing all bearings and bearing housings.
  • Upgrading motor and controls to the latest specification
  • Renewing inlet valves
  • Replacing painted doors with stainless steel doors
  • Repainting

There are many options that engineering companies can look to take to either repair or rebuild food processing machinery before manufacturers have to look at scrapping their production lines. Advances in technology, such as the use of sensors and rotary cleaning brushes, has increased efficiency whilst reducing wasted product. These kind of developments and enhancements can improve the economic value of the machine, increase hygienic standards and ensure quality control across the board.


Case study

Saving a bakery a load of dough – Sylmasta repair metal blades suffering from heavy corrosion in a flour mixer. When metal blades in two flour mixers were found to be suffering from corrosion, a commercial bakery in Puerto Rico was faced with the prospect of a costly shutdown – until a Sylmasta repair saved the bakery a load of dough in more ways than one.


Case Study Data
Site – Commercial Bakery
Location – Puerto Rico
Repair Type – Corrosion protection and repair
Defect – Heavily corroded metal blades in two flour mixers
Products Used – Ceramic Brushable Green

Brushable epoxy coating refurbished the corroded blades and provided future protection from both corrosion and abrasion. The mixers in question were used by the bakery to mix together flour and other ingredients to make turnovers and other popular products.

During a regular inspection of the machinery, it was discovered that the blades were suffering from corrosion. Production using the two mixers in question had to be halted until the parts were either replaced or underwent repair.

New blades for the flour mixer would have cost $3000 per blade, setting the bakery back $6000 on new parts for both machines plus installation costs. There were further complications when it was revealed that replacement blades were not available from stock.

This meant that the parts would have to be built from scratch, a time consuming process that would have meant a long wait for the mixers to be put back into operation. With the two mixers out of use for the foreseeable future, the bakery would have found itself struggling to fulfil existing orders, let alone take new ones.

$6,000 to replace the metal blades suffering from corrosion and many weeks of lost production. The bakery was looking at losing a lot of dough, both in terms of money and the delicious baked goods that it made.

A better solution than replacing the blades was needed and the bakery started looking for repair methods. That led them to Sylmasta, who were able to recommend the use of Sylmasta Ceramic Brushable Green for the job.

Ceramic Brushable Green is a toughened, solvent-free, water-resistant coating that is used to reinforce and strengthen machine parts. It offers protection against corrosion and its ultra smooth, low friction finish reduces abrasion.

Coating the blades with Ceramic Brushable Green therefore not only allowed the flour mixer to be put back into service, but it lengthened the lifespan of the parts by making them less susceptible to wear and tear.

The ease with which Ceramic Brushable Green is used enabled the bakery to carry out a quick and easy repair. It is brush applied and simply painted onto the area requiring repair. Several coats were used and within 24 hours of the application, both the flour mixers in question were put back into operation and the bakery was operating at full capacity once again.

After completing the repair, the bakery contacted Sylmasta to say how happy they were with the solution and that the blades now looked as if they were brand new. Ceramic Brushable Green is reinforced with hard-wearing, high purity, green silicon-carbide, which means it will be a long time before the blades require servicing again.


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Media contact

Kiran Grewal
Editor, International Bakery

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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