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Archive for the ‘automation’ Category


Sheeting dough by hand is a strenuous job when working in a bakery. And once again, time is money. Save time, labor and money with an easy-to-use Dough Sheeter to process your dough.

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There are several manufactures of sheeters including AcmeBloemhof, and Rondo to name some of the more popular ones. There are a variety of sheeter makes and models, each of which is designed for a specific function. Call Horizon Equipment for assistance in selecting the right sheeter for the application you have. The right equipment makes all the difference in the success of your bakery business.

If you are in the market for a new sheeter or have one that has years of service, it is very important to maintain and repair it with proper parts and supplies. Horizon Equipment can assist with all your parts and service needs as well. If you already own a Dough Sheeter, let’s take a look at some of these key equipment parts to make sure your equipment is up and running at its top performance.

Dough Sheeter Belts. There are several different types of belting material used on sheeters. There are rubber, nylon, Teflon and even natural fabric or cotton belts used on sheeters depending on the application. There are even specialty and custom belts for those great items your plan to produce. Some belts are connected by glue, while others have stainless steel clipper lacing. Just take a look at your belt and get familiar with the ins and outs of your Dough Sheeter.

How will I know if my sheeter belt is worn? When your sheeter belt is worn, you will see frayed edges or it might be splitting and will start to fray. Sheeter belt edges fray when your Dough Sheeter is not tracking properly. This is the time you want to call and get a new belt. It’s also a good time for a tune-up to adjust the tracking. Schedule a maintenance tune-up for your bakery equipment at the same time. Our Service Team will install your new belt and have you up and running in a flash. You do not want to wait until material off the belt ends up in your product for your customer to find!

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You might not know what type of belt your Dough Sheeter has, but knowing the make and model of your bakery equipment is the first step in getting the correct part. Being familiar with the material is also a great piece of information. This information is important to pass on to our Parts Team so they order you the correct piece. It’s possible one of your Dough Sheeters has one type of belt, while the other has a different kind. It does matter which belt goes to which machine, so be observant. A common problem with many sheeter operation issues is that someone has replaced the belt with something different than what was originally supplied with the equipment. Another important piece of information to provide our Parts Team in assisting you with the right choice for your sheeter belt is the width and thickness of the belt and the overall length.

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 Sheeter Scrapers. Sheeter scrapers keep the roller clean as the dough passes through. As with Dough Sheeter belts, there are several types from plastic to blue steel, to stainless steel. As they become worn they should be replaced so they don’t damage the sheeting rollers. One very expensive replacement part on a sheeter is the sheeting rollers, so protect them by changing the scrapers. Our parts experts can assist you in getting the right replacement scrapers for your sheeters.

Chains, sprockets and other moving parts. Inspect, clean and lubricate to prevent unnecessary wear on moving parts.

Electrical. Be sure to inspect and replace any electrical cords or safety switches that are not functioning properly. A sheeter is actually one of the more dangerous pieces of equipment in the bakery, so make sure it is up to code for your sake and the sake of your employees. Have a qualified equipment Service Technician examine and make any necessary repairs if you are not comfortable in doing it yourself. Safety first!

Once your Dough Sheeter is tuned-up and ready to roll (literally), you can continue making your baguettes, mini croissants, pasta, and pie crusts to enjoy!

With proper care, your Dough Sheeter can last for many years! For equipment and parts for your Dough Sheeter, contact Horizon Equipment atwww.horizonequipment.com or (800) 394-4674.

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Horizon Equipment has a great team of Service and Parts Specialists ready and willing to help you choose the proper belt or other parts for your bakery equipment. We make it easy by providing maintenance tips to optimize the performance of your equipment to keep your bakery business running.

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 In recent months we have talked about plugging the profit leaks in your bakery and increasing the customer’s perception of value – the “Wow Factor” in your bakery products. During these discussions we have referred to the role that automation plays in today’s bakery production. This month we are going to discuss the key issues to be considered for developing an automation plan.

History of Automation:
Automation has always played a role in baking. After all every bakery has an oven. In recent times excavations around the pyramids of Egypt revealed a large bakery complex with rows upon rows of stone ovens. Hundreds of bakers worked these ovens daily to feed the work gangs that built the pyramids. In today’s high tech world there are a wide range of bakery products, from Wonder Bread to Twinkies that are produced with fully automated processes. There is growing pressure to automate more bakery products.

The push to automate stems from the general shortage of labour available to work in bakeries, the increasing cost of labour, and the growing cost of injury claims due to repetitive stress injuries. Advances in automation also cut costs and improve sales by providing consistent ingredient portioning, and consistent taste, texture and presentation.

Developing an Automation Plan:
Determine your reasons to automate As mentioned above there are many benefits of automation. Ask yourself what benefits are the most important to you at this particular time. If reducing personal injury claims is your primary concern then determine the processes that are causing the most stress and the highest incidence of claims.

Look for machines and systems that automate these high stress processes. If controlling ingredient portioning is your primary concern, then you should determine the processes that are the most out of control. Look for machines that will automate these portioning steps. Along the way you will likely find that the machine that
solves one problem also provides benefits in another area.

In many cases the main objective of automation is reducing labor costs and increasing production capacity. The question that has to be answered is whether or not the machine will actually achieve the labor saving or productivity gain that is anticipated. For example you may buy a machine that allows a decorator to finish 600 cakes per hour. Without the machine the decorator may only be able to finish 60 cakes in an hour. In this situation the machine gives you the possibility of either saving labor costs or taking on new orders without adding to your labor pool.

Taking on new orders will give you the highest return on your investment. After all, the machine allows you to sell 10 times more cakes with the same labour pool. In our example this is 600- 60 = 540 cakes per hour or 4320 more cakes in an 8 hour day. Say you sell each cake for $2.50 and your ingredient cost is $1.00. When you sell all the extra cakes you will increase your profits by 4320 x $1.50 = $6480 per 8 hour day. Assuming 250 working days per year the increase in profits is $1,620,000.

Capacity Profile:
In the above example we see how one machine allows a single decorator to be 10 times more productive with the added benefit of greatly reduced risk of repetitive stress injury. A 10 times increase in productivity is so large that we have to determine if the rest of the bakery can keep up with the new pace. Can the bakery mix and bake 4320 more cakes per day? Can the bakery freeze or ship out an extra 4320 cakes per day? If some processes do not have the capacity to keep up they will have
to be upgraded with additional staff and/or additional equipment. The important point here is to determine how much overall capacity you need to run all your products and to ensure that each individual process has the sufficient capacity.

It is important to note that you do not want a balanced plant where each process has the same capacity as the other. In most bakeries the mixing capacity will be greater than the oven capacity and the finishing or decorating capacity will also be greater than the oven capacity. The reason for this is that the oven capacity is usually sets the limit of the overall capacity of the bakery. You never want to “starve” the oven of product to be baked so you build in some protective mixing capacity into your automation plan.

Levels of Automation:
There are different levels of automation. The first level of automation involves single purpose machines that require staff to operate. At this level machines will improve the productivity and reduce the physical stress on an individual. At the highest level of automation systems are employed that perform multiple steps in a process and require relatively few staff to operate. These systems greatly reduce manual processes and can usually be programmed to run a variety of recipes within a product category. An advanced automation system will generally employ a conveyor system to move products from one process to another saving time and handling costs.

Choosing a Vendor:
Now that you’ve made the decision to upgrade equipment there are important consideration in choosing the best vendor. Look for a vendor who is a leading innovator, who can provide engineering solutions for your particular requirements and plant parameters. A vendor with a well trained sales force who provides
operator and maintenance training, customer service and preventive maintenance programs will ensure that your equipment performs to its potential. In short you are looking for a vendor to become your partner in growth and innovation.

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