Choosing a versatile dough divider is the first step toward improving efficiency in sandwich bread production, one that can easily produce a wide range of sandwich breads.

Bakers must ask, Can the divider run more than a single type of product? Will it be able to run the products we want to run in the future? Will it be able to run the variety of products I need to fully utilize my line?

“Efficiencies can be improved in a number of ways: from versatility in your dough divider to portioning accuracy to having the ability to add high-speed, multi-lane functionality to your line,” says John McIsaac, vice president, strategic business development for Reiser. “Our Vemag Dough Divider combines the advantages of pocket divider quality with extrusion divider efficiencies into one machine. The Vemag is easily adjustable to produce a wide range of exact-weight portions, crumb structures and dough absorptions.”

The Vemag divider is based on double-screw technology. With a fully adjustable vacuum system and fully adjustable hopper infeed system, Reiser can match the system to the product and the rates. The machine is recipe driven and variables are simply changed from product to product with minimal operator intervention. “We also have the option of swapping out the double-screw for big changes in product. If a customer wants to run a fully open variety bread, as well as a tight crumb structure white bread, he can do so on the same divider with a simple changeover,” McIsaac says.

One of the easiest ways retail and wholesale bakeries can improve efficiency in the production of both breads and other products is to identify when it makes sense to invest in equipment, according to Craig Kominiak, sales consultant for Erika Record Baking Equipment.

As a general rule of thumb, equipment purchasing tends to make financial sense for bakeries that are spending a large chunk of time producing a product and/or using a large portion of labor to address production.

“In our experience, retail bakers often make the jump into one of our industry leading divider/rounder solutions when they find themselves hand scaling, hand dividing, and/or hand rounding for hours at a time during a typical day,” Kominiak says. “Likewise, they may also consider our divider/rounder equipment if multiple employees are being dedicated to their bread making process. For wholesale bakeries, they will consider our automatic, multi-row divider/rounder options when they have maxed out production using our traditional divider/rounder options.”

For retail bakeries, the Erika Record Semi RH Divider/Rounder is a great option as an entry level model. For wholesale, a remanufactured Koenig does the job (availability based on currently machine inventory and remanufacturing queue).

Scaling accuracy is also critical to production efficiencies. As the “cash register” of the line, accuracy starts with the divider. The divider is where money is made or lost. Bakers must ask, “Can this divider accurately scale my product?”

“We love this question as nobody tops a Vemag for scaling accuracy,” McIsaac says. “Our Vemag dough divider features double-screw pumping technology that sets a high benchmark for scaling accuracy. The double-screw has always produced great scaling while minimizing the work on the product. We have made improvements to our double-screw technology, as well as improvements in how dough travels into and through the double-screw. We have made larger pockets within the double-screw. This means slower speeds for the same output.”

Erika Record offers multiple innovations within the bread baking industry throughout each phase of production. For retail markets, Erika Record divider/rounders feature an innovative removable head system that facilitates both cleaning, as well as being able to accommodate a wide array of weight ranges with a single machine. This means you can make multiple products with just one machine. 

When it comes to baking and ovens for both retail and wholesale markets, Erika Record offers cyclothermic baking with its Tagliavini Termik line. Cyclothermic technology provides an even and consistent bake, as well as a hearty crust, and boasts quicker temperature recovery in comparison to their steam-tube counterparts, according to Cindy Chananie, sales consultant for Erika Record. “This enables bakeries to quickly shift towards making a larger variety of different bread products,” Chananie says. “Temperature adjustments can be made within hours, whereas adjustments for steam-tube ovens can take entire work shifts to achieve.”

Automating the process

In terms of automation, Reiser can help in a few ways, both upstream and downstream of the divider, McIsaac says. Reiser has a team of engineers who are experts at integrating lines.

Reiser provides FME dough chunkers. “The dough chunkers fit well with our philosophy to have the least impact on the dough as one can. Dough chunkers receive the mixer output, portion it into large slabs, and deliver to the divider. Our chunkers are sized to the mixer and custom engineered to efficiently transport and feed the divider (or dividers) with a minimal amount of work on the dough. FME dough chunkers deliver the dough in the state it came out of the mixer, so the customer controls the development of his dough, not the transport system,” McIsaac says.

Reiser’s innovative new cutting system, the VDP, provides the ultimate in weight control and flexibility. Like Reiser’s traditional cutter, this machine cuts at high rates of speed in two lanes. However dual servo motors drive the knives. No more mechanical side-to-side adjustment — instead, it’s done at the touch of a button.

The system is usually set to automatically react to downstream conditions. For example, if the left moulder goes down, the divider stops, runs dough only to the right at the speed the moulder can handle. When the offline moulder comes back on line, so does the second lane of the divider.

For slicing and sandwich production, bakeries that are considering Erika Record slicing equipment tend to be almost exclusively toward the wholesale side of production. Erika Record Baking Equipment is the exclusive distributor of Krumbein slicing equipiment in North America and the Caribbean.

For hinge slicing, the Krumbein BBS-VE horizontal slicing solution enables bakeries to execute both complete, full cuts, as well as hinge cuts into breads, rolls, hoagies, subs, and baguettes. These machines feature an adjustable blade depth and are often used for slicing products such as hamburger and dog buns, as well as Kaiser and sub sandwich rolls. 

For even larger production environments such as commissary production, Krumbein VSM solutions can be incorporated into production lines to facilitate ongoing slicing. Krumbein also offers complete, custom build sandwich production stations that include slicing, condiment depositing and sandwich preparation stations.