How Automated Ingredient Handling Enhances Batch Efficiency
Bakeries that place a high premium on accuracy understand that flow control and regulating the rates at which ingredients run through the system is paramount. The inability to manage the flow of ingredients to and from the scale always results in an inconsistent outcome.
Among the primary obstacles to meeting diverse flow rate requirements is reconciling them with batch speed targets established by a preset downstream process. Minor and micro ingredients present a unique set of challenges because the two are difficult to integrate into one seamless and comprehensive production system.
Because batch cycle times link so closely with precision flow rates, manual processes have become quickly outmoded and can scarcely be relied upon to deliver consistent baked goods in an efficient manner. When it comes to small ingredient handling, manual procedures substantially reduce batch processing time. In addition to this, most micro ingredients have a slim margin of allowable activity, complicating the production process even further.
How does automation help as a weighing solution?
Automating micro and minor weighments for your critical ingredients is the best way to resolve issues associated with manual scaling while simultaneously improving your batch speed. Yet withal, converging minors and micros into a single system is challenging because few manual micro systems weigh and deliver minors quickly enough. If your existing micro system can handle all the required flow rates, it must ultimately combine with the minor system.
Automating resolves this problem by allowing for faster batch cycles with a reduced margin of error. While manual scaling might be effective, and even accurate, as you introduce the element of speed to keep up with flow requirements, an increased opportunity for error presents itself. Conversely, automation eliminates those possibilities while ensuring that the system keeps pace with the necessary production requirements.
Automated ingredient handling systems improve accuracy and speed
Whenever automation enters into the discussion, mechanizing micron and minor scaling procedures is usually one of the last topics to come to mind. Small ingredients, however, are vital because they represent the one piece of the equation that distinguishes fastidious bakers from their competition. Because most bread and roll recipes are so straightforward to start with, the slightest slip in measurement can immensely influence the outcome of the product.
From color to nutritional content, small ingredients are what make your bake goods unique. That’s why the accuracy of these ingredients is critical for delivering a baked good that displays the consistent quality that customers identify with your brand. When small ingredients begin to vary, even slightly, consumers take notice.
Nevertheless, bakers still tend to delay automating their storing and scaling processes because of concerns over return on investment (ROI). Most business owners, however, benefit from automating sooner rather than later. Implementing the requisite hardware in the future could be complicated and prove cost-prohibitive.
Bakery operators are remiss to approach automating minors and micron as an afterthought when devising an overall system design because the legacy equipment they already own will invariably struggle to find the accuracy required by the other automated solutions implemented. Whenever you start making automated upgrades, it is important to remember that you’re installing a precision-based system.
When assessing overall system accuracy, the components of the new infrastructure should generally operate on the same level. You don’t want your automated ingredient system operating more efficiently than the manual systems still in place. When one application operations faster than another, this produces log jams downstream. At the same time, encountering an automated system to reach grams of variation has been difficult, historically speaking.
In past years, high-precision dosing equipment was expensive, commonly exceeding the budget of the baked goods it intended to produce. Given that minors and micro are ponderously sensitive ingredients, the automative process of weighing and mixing them requires a batch-dedicated system to maintain accuracy and prevent product loss. However, new software-based industrial automation solutions, coupled with a system that facilitates both minors and micros, present the best path to guarding against batch accuracy issues.
Improved software controls optimize automated weighing systems
Emergent automation tools and process software provide features that allow bakers to collect valuable data to ensure the superior quality and optimal consistency of their products. After automating, bakeries find the ability to follow their specified formula with an exactitude that guarantees a consistent yield with every batch produced. Advanced software control solutions offered by companies such as EZSoft help bakery owners converge their existing mechanical infrastructure with core automated functions for a successful upgrade initiative.
Melding the appropriate software controls with complex, high-precision automated equipment allows your micro and minor ingredient handling system to adapt to various dosing parameters and different ingredient requirements. After conducting a comprehensive analysis of your overall system, EZSoft can assist in identifying which software control solutions are best for scaling optimization and the accurate delivery of your dosing elements.
Automating requires careful attention to system design and should take into account not only scaling range but other factors like product storage and handling. Several considerations present themselves whenever you tailor a dedicated system for specific goods. Tubing size, bearings, air seals, and blower capacity will independently vary, depending on the particle size of the ingredients and how they react to environmental factors such as temperature and moisture.
An ingredient system designed to handle minor and micro ingredients together can produce phenomenally accurate results and speedier batch times. But dedicated high-precision industrial automation solutions such as this one depend upon having the appropriate software controls in place. While accuracy and consistency are among the foremost benefits of automating your weighing and ingredients handling system, the vast majority of your ROI is realized after discovering faster batch times and improved efficiency overall.
Where can I find industrial automation companies near me?
Are you considering automating your ingredient handling systems for faster batch times? EZSoft, a premier supplier of information and control systems for food manufacturers, can help. To learn more about which software controls are right for your food and beverage processing facility, dial (484) 568-5040 today.