Although baking and automation sound like they would never go hand in hand, despite its batch-oriented, craftsman-like nature, baking is very ripe for automation in many aspects.
Fremont, CA: Baking is primarily a batch process, usually with specific time lags between steps; many higher-end baked goods also possess an artisan cachet, which might seem incompatible with automation. But automation has managed to pave its way into many phases of industrial baking. Like in any product segment, advances like robotics and digital technology have the potential to aggravate the degree of automation. Even though automation is more prevalent in larger, high-volume baking operations, smaller ones have also started to recognize the advantages which welcome a variety of processing and material handling equipment for bakeries and other sectors.
Adoption of technology
Specific technologies can massively increase the quality and consistency of baking goods, including servomotors, checkweighing, vision systems, and robotics. These technologies have been there for a long time, but their adoption in baking, at least on the processing side, has been falling short.
New systems like the one made for croissant making that includes a vision system to identify the tail position and adjusts the shape automatically were showcased earlier, which also has a speed of producing 200 pieces per row. Even in packaging technology is being utilized in packaging equipment with precision and flexibility.
Timing the batches
One of the biggest hurdles in the food industry is the disconnection between batch-oriented processing equipment and continuous, high-speed packaging equipment. This problem is commonly found in baking, where many batches take a long time, and the time can vary between products. Bakeries are also witnessing the same packaging trend as many food processors, especially in single-serve sizes. Therefore secondary packaging equipment like cartoners and case packers are preferred to do the needful rather than primary equipment like flowrappers.
For numerous reasons, many industrial bakers have been lagging in embracing automation, but the ones that did are finding the right equipment that can better as well as fast-pace their products.