Suppliers find answers to sticky situations

Working with sticky doughs or a broad range of consistencies? Depositor suppliers are keeping pace with the NPD trends in bakery, offering increasingly versatile kit.

If one word sums up what 21st century bakers demand of their equipment, that word is flexibility. Today’s customers and consumers seem to want it all: taste, health credentials, convenient formats, artisan styling, indulgence and great value.

Developing baked products to meet such diverse demands requires kit that can handle a wide variety of mixes – and manufacturers of depositors and extruders have risen to the challenge.

AMF Tromp says its Unimac range starts with a small unit that can be used for developing new products, including gluten-free buns and snack bars, and be used for injecting different type of flavours to produce added-value cakes.

“We have a customer that produces muffins and cakes on an industrial scale with our depositing technology,” explains Tromp sales manager Jeroen van Vree.  “With the small-scale Unimac, they develop new types of cakes and, if the product is approved by marketing, can easily upgrade this to real production. Last year, they developed a banana muffin as a healthy snack and, after successful development, launched it on their production line.”

Specialist diets have also had an impact on the demands put on equipment.

“The growing special diet market, and other trends such as raw food with sticky mixes with non-traditional ingredients and high water content, is a growth area for our equipment,” says James Fitch, bakery sales manager at Reiser, which supplies Vemag despositors and extruders. He adds Vemag uses double screw technology to deposit or extrude high- or low-water-absorption goods, with and without inclusions, while maintaining weight control.

“Vemag depositing and extruding technology is ideal for manufacturing products that traditional equipment may struggle to handle,” says Fitch.

Handtmann, meanwhile, has been working with bakery producers to create bespoke solutions for products such as sausage rolls and pastries that require co-extrusion and spot depositing to specific customer requirements.

Andrew Turner, the company’s bakery product manager for the UK and Ireland, says Handtmann vacuum fillers allow a greater range of products to be developed than traditional bakery kit that might be designed for a specific purpose and a single type of baked good, restricting future product development.

“A single Handtmann filler connected to a specific attachment is capable of handling a wide range of deposited or extruded products over multiple lines, allowing the customer to future-proof their plants going forward with a more flexible production process, without needing to purchase separate machines for each product.”

Handtmann also says its products are particularly suited to sticky gluten-free doughs. The company explains that the design of the Handtmann hopper, vane cells and short product path reduce the friction on the dough and prevent product quality issues. Vacuum fillers allow bakers to work with more stable dough and the moisture levels in downstream processes can be managed precisely, says Handtmann, adding that temperature management becomes even more important with gluten-free doughs made with whole grains, nuts or legumes, due to their higher levels of fat and increased responsiveness to heat.

“Depositing technology has developed over the years and has become more effective at what it does and needs to achieve,” says Ann Wells, group marketing director at Brook Food Processing Equipment. She adds the Polin Multidrop Multihead depositors supplied by Brook offer versatility, enabling hundreds of different products to be created on one machine.

Different heads incorporating smooth or ridged rollers have been designed with the consistencies and textures of various mixes in mind, while anti-drip nozzles can be added for particularly wet mixes. Wells explains that advanced programming can allow pinpoint deposits and twists, while the brand’s Twiny model features two hoppers for two-colour mixes or flavours.

In the case of Unifiller, senior product manager Andy Sigrist says its systems
offer SV valve technology that allows smoother product flow through the depositors, enabling larger inclusions to pass through while maintaining the integrity of delicate products.

He adds that unique Unifiller electronic servo-controlled depositors can control the deposit cycle more accurately compared to pneumatic depositors, spread products more evenly and provide for smaller minimum portions. They are also faster to set up, using a touchscreen with recipe storage, he claims.

Mono Equipment has developed its Universal Confectionery Depositors that are available with a single, double or triple hopper system, enabling up to three different mixes to be deposited at the same time to create multicoloured products.

With multi-directional movement control, they are capable of producing complex shapes such as Christmas trees, incremental spirals, pyramids, cones, letters and numbers, says Mono UK sales director Chris Huish.

“The Universal Confectionery Depositor features a new combination hopper suitable for hard and soft mixes and has a large set of aluminium rollers positioned above a second set of smaller gears,” he explains. “This provides the optimum pressure to drive through even the stiffest mixes with ease and accuracy, while the two lower gears can be replaced with particulate gears to deposit particles like nuts and chocolate chips without crushing the inclusions.”

With nothing to suggest consumers will become less demanding, such advances will help to ensure depositors remain the baking industry’s flexible friends.

Addressing concerns over food allergens

Allergens have been in the spotlight recently, and depositor suppliers are keen to help bakers ensure concerns are addressed.

Brook Food says it has recently had “countless” conversations with manufacturers who are making provisions for allergens and prevention of cross-contamination in the workplace.

“Manufacturers are having to consider how their equipment is used across multiple product lines containing different ingredients,” says group marketing director Ann Wells. “Separate heads would allow users to change between mixes and prevent contamination to aid clean-down and switching between products.”

Unifiller explains its equipment uses a simple and tool-free design that allows for quick and thorough cleaning and sanitising.

“The more recent line of depositors and extruders offers customers with allergens solutions in sanitary equipment that are easy to set up, operate, clean and maintain,” says Unifiller senior product manager Andy Sigrist.

Reiser, meanwhile, supplies equipment manufactured from stainless steel with few removable parts that is suitable for quick changeovers and full allergen clean-downs between runs.

Selecting the best kit for NPD

When it comes to picking the most suitable depositing and extruding equipment for developing new bakery products, key considerations include the size of business and type of product being produced. Here, some leading bakery equipment suppliers offer suggestions from their ranges.

Unifiller

Andy Sigrist, senior product manager

Unifiller Systems offers smaller models of depositors, including the popular ELF 400 table-top depositor and the single-port Uni-X Extruder, which are ideally suited for research and development laboratories. Together with a wide range of deposit, spreading, injecting and extrusion nozzles, Unifiller Systems offers full solutions for product development. Often, this equipment is then also used at the initial stages of production.

Mono Equipment

Chris Huish, independent director of UK sales

For a small business, our Epsilon Depositor is ideal as it is undoubtedly the smallest table-top depositor available on the market today, requiring less than 1m2 of space in which to operate. If a business is looking to produce a range of hard and soft mix products, our Omega Plus Confectionery Depositor is capable of producing cookies and biscuits – even with suspended ingredients. Our Universal 3D-X Confectionery Depositor is ideal for large-scale patisserie and can produce complex shapes and intricate designs with speed and accuracy. It is available with a single, double or triple hopper system, so that up to three different mixes can be simultaneously deposited, allowing you to create unique three-colour products.

Tromp

Jeroen van Vree, sales manager

The Unimac range is modular, so the end-user can start with the basic model and upgrade with additional tools for new products. That’s why the Unimac is an ideal concept for product development. The unit is operated from a touch panel and programs can be easily stored in the PLC. This also applies to the industrial designed Unimac, which can be installed above a baking tray system or above a steelbelt for depositing batter, meringue, heavy dough or injecting muffins or doughnuts. The industrial units are standalone-operated, which means they can be integrated in an existing line. The depositing heads can be disassembled without the use of tools and whole unit is easy to wash down.

Handtmann

Andrew Turner, bakery product manager, UK and Ireland

The Handtmann depositing station DS551 (pictured) comprises a vacuum filler and a servo-driven flow divider with valves or nozzles. The depositing station is able to dose chunky and very soft fillings in accurately measured weights. A variety of dosing methods are possible, such as spot dosing points, strips and continuous dosing. This solution is optimally designed for dosing accurate weights of fillings directly onto dough sheet lines. The simple integration into process solutions and the system’s options for customised adaption in line with the operational conditions offer flexibility for various applications and projects.

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