Automation nation

05 May, 2006
Increasingly sophisticated technology which allows even small businesses access to automation is causing something of a revolution in the UK baking industry. So what are bakers looking for in bread and roll plant?
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“Everyone’s looking for something different,” says Chris Huish of Mono. “There’s a big swing towards artisan-type bread and rolls to give bakers a point of difference and consumers something new.” Swansea-based Mono acts as agent for Austrian firm Baktec, which supplies roll plants across Europe. These plants, with capacities ranging from 2,500-18,000 units an hour, are the ideal way for medium-to-large bakeries to join the artisanal roll revolution, says Mr Huish.
“With special cutters, proving systems and robot panning, all controlled by a colour touchscreen system, these bread and roll plants are easy to set up and use,” he says. “Bakeries in Austria and Germany are using them as a matter of course and demand in the UK for ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ products is only going to increase.”Adaptable SmartLineContinental-style products were the start point for the SmartLine sheet-and-cut line from Rondo, based in Chessington, Surrey. The line was originally produced to handle ciabatta dough, which is notoriously difficult to handle due to its high water content. In developing a very gentle process for ciabatta, the company has produced an extremely adaptable machine.“Over the past three years we’ve had a lot of success with SmartLine,” says Mike Johnson, general manager. “It’s a minor revolution for medium-sized businesses, which can now produce all shapes and types of bread and rolls using ‘zero stress’ technology. This cuts the need for dough compression.” The machine uses a guillotine to cut dough to its finished shape, so a ‘middle’ prove is not necessary. With the addition of a roll winder the SmartLine can also produce tin bread, savouries and Danish pastries. Quality and varietyAlan Burgess, who represents newly renamed Baker Perkins (formerly APV Baker) in Peterborough, says bakers are seeking both product quality and variety. “Our clients, who tend to be at the high-output end of the market, are constantly inventing new products. Even accounting for their high production rates, these products must be made to a high standard to attract premium prices.”



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