Cake production represents a very creative side of the bakery industry. So, product innovations take place continuously.
“The changes are driven by the creativity of our customers, the ever-changing consumer demand and the availability of new technologies,” explains Luc Imberechts, owner of Bakon USA Food Equipment, citing as one example the possibilities offered by ultrasonic cutting of full sheets of cakes. “We are hearing more automation and the strong interest in our modular approach. We also see more attention to sanitation and to the ease of cleaning of our units, and also to the sanitary design.”
As the bakeries embrace more sophisticated automation processes, the industry is rapidly evolving and gaining higher efficiences – as well as improved profitability.
“We see more integration. So, we strongly believe that our modular approach offers real advantages to our customers,” Imberechts says. “The introduction of robotic arms to work in combination with the depositors offers more flexibility.”
During the International Baking Industry Exposition 2019 tradeshow in Las Vegas, Bakon introduced its new generation of Bakon Depositors under the name BD. The BD line is the result of Bakon’s global experience in depositing solutions, from piston depositors (single and multiple pistons) to gearwheel depositors and extruders.
“Our equipment is designed with standard well-known, high-quality components that are available on a worldwide basis. This is true for the pneumatic components – SMC Pneumatics – but also PLCs, integrated controls by Allen-Bradley,” he says.
The BD-3 is the table-top unit. This is the first unit an operator should buy when thinking of scaling up from the piping bag, Bakon recommends.
On the other end of the range, the BD-9 can work with a unique level of accuracy thanks to the servo-driven cylinder. The operator can program the unit with the full-color display. It can be equipped with Bakon’s cake decorator.
For more complex applications and when speed is crucial or extra flexibility is required, two units can work together or Bakon can add a robotic arm to the BD-9. It can also be attached to a conveyor belt for a more automated approach.
Ideal for flowable products
Unifiller Systems, a global leader in portioning equipment and a subsidiary of the Linxis Group of Companies, recently introduced the iFill Depositor. The machine is intended for bakery and food producers looking to deposit large volumes – up to 31 ounces – in a single deposit, using a simple and compact depositor. Featuring an ergonomic 1-inch handheld nozzle with 5-foot food grade flexible product hose and a choice of two product cylinders, the iFill depositor pumps and portions product directly from any bowl or container.
Capable of up to 100 cycles a minute, the iFill depositor is ideal for flowable products without particulates. Customers who have purchased the equipment have been able to speed up production, increase yield, optimize their labor, and better manage their product waste.
“There are growing factors impacting the way food producers work,” explains Sonia Bal, director of marketing at Unifiller Systems. “Over the years, changes in minimum wage, fewer people entering the trades, and boomers transitioning to retirement have all led to the need for more automation. More recently, COVID-19 has demonstrated that businesses are heavily impacted when staff are difficult to retain due to health and safety concerns. The current pandemic has been eye-opening. Automating what was previously done by hand – for example, using the iFill for batter depositing – can simplify a business’ daily operations.”
The iFill includes optional attachments such as a pail shelf to keep product containers off the floor to avoid contaminants, and an optional pie wand for easy pie filling, even on the rack. Although Unifiller expects this new equipment to be used mostly for cake batters and pie fillings, the application possibilities are endless.