When bagel producer Maple Leaf Bakeries wanted a weighing and traceability system for its expanded plant near Rotherham, it chose the Trac-IT MES system from Marco Weighing.

Maple Leaf has a capacity of over 60,000 fresh and frozen bagels an hour, making it Europe’s largest producer of bagels, according to the company. It supplies all the major supermarkets and retail outlets with private and New York Bagel Co branded goods. The system from Marco comprises a goods-in PC-based module and printer, three DataMaster terminals, two DataMaster recipe workstations in the recipe make-up room and two DataMaster workstations in the main mixing area, as well as strategically placed waste monitoring stations. These all communicate via RF LAN and are fitted with wireless interfaced RF bar-code scanners.


As the company operates in a three-shift, quick turnaround manufacturing environment, Marco Weighing needed to keep production downtime to an absolute minimum during installation and commissioning of the system. Its solution was to set up a cross-department team from Maple Leaf, which worked closely with Marco personnel throughout the planning, training and implementation stages.

Trac-IT automatically checks in raw materials against outstanding orders and labels them, ensuring the supplier is approved and the use-by date is appropriate. The system generates a bar code for each individually packed product and pallet module and stacked items are stored in ’use by’ date order. Any deboxing is recorded within the system to ensure traceability.

Maple Leaf’s bagels are made from unbleached, protein rich high-gluten flour, which is lightly seasoned with ingredients including special flours, malt, salt, sugar and yeasts. The base flour and water are supplied to the mixer in bulk but the smaller amount of special ingredients are weighed out by hand, creating a bespoke product in dozens of different formats. Dry ingredients are moved around the plant in permanently numbered and bar-code labelled mobile bins, which act as individual traceability modules.

== monitoring dry ingredients ==

Additional dry ingredients for a particular batch are made up into sub-mixes in the main recipe room, using the two DataMaster workstations, where the whole process is based on a check-control-measure regime to monitor batch sizes, check the correct ingredient from the correct bin is being used and the weight of the product used matches the preset target. Sub-mixes then go to the main mixing room where additional workstations weigh out wet ingredients, including oils. Waste monitoring is also part of the process recorded. n