What can the optimum travelling oven achieve? Fast efficient baking well, that should be a given. But nowadays, every semi and industrial user is looking for more.
At the Iba exhibition in Germany, Gouet, a part of Mecatherm, launched its new Double Action oven. Gouet chairman Olivier Sergent took British Baker through its workings: "The Double Action oven combines two of the most sought-after baking systems: cyclotherm and impingement, also known as radiation baking and forced convection baking." Radiation baking means there is no air movement, so the products bake gently and evenly. "In convection baking, when the core temperature is correct, the top opens and hot air flow gives fast surface baking for exactly the right amount of colour."
Its dual action makes the oven ideal for tin breads, he says, ensuring they have no burnt tops, but is also suitable for flat breads, rolls and topped lines, such as pizzas. Sergent adds: "There is fantastic flexibility, but also consistency. And what makes it unique is that you can bake such a range of goods on an industrial scale in one oven. Baking time is reduced, saving energy, while the quality of the product, including tin bread, is excellent."
The first oven has already been sold to the Village Bakery (Coedpoeth) for its gluten-free production site at Wrexham.
Italian manufacturer Polin’s tunnel ovens are designed for larger-scale bread, pastry and biscuit production. Polin manufactured its first oven some 80 years ago in Verona, Italy. The company now makes ovens capable of multiple applications. From cyclothermic heated systems to convection and electric, the made-to-order range can be adapted to suit a particular product and the production levels required.
With the benefits of combining multihead depositors and sheeters to the line, as well as a choice of conveyor, from wire mesh, metal or stone-based, production can become more streamlined and versatile.

Travelling cooker
Double D, now a division of JBT FoodTech, installed its first Revoband Continuous Oven over 16 years ago, using technology based on the company’s travelling cooker for the meat and poultry industry. Designed in zones, for extreme flexibility, the high impingement oven can be programmed to suit any number of different bakery recipes and specifications, while the travelling stainless steel band can be custom-built up to 3.6 metres wide.
The production of chilled or pre-cooked speciality breads is an expanding market, one in which New Primebake, part of the Bakkavör Group and one of Double D’s customers, specialises. Three factories in Nantwich, Barton and, most recently, Crewe, produce speciality breads for most of the major UK supermarkets, including a range of handcrafted breads with toppings, comprising butter, garlic, cheese, olives, herbs and sun-dried tomatoes.
With the addition of the Crewe factory, Mark Jones, New Primebake’s manufacturing director, was charged with the task of doubling capacity without changing the technical specifications of the bake and, importantly, maintaining safety, as toppings like butter and cheese can be extremely volatile. He says: "We initially wrote a spec for 10 oven manufacturers from across the world and shortlisted five. Double D ticked all our boxes. Their knowledge straddles both baking and food industries, allowing our initial specification and design to benefit from a diverse product knowledge, imparting significant benefits that we would not have thought possible in traditional baking principles."
The oven also boasts Double D’s Clean In Place (CIP) system, featuring sparge pipes that deliver a pressurised, heated, caustic solution throughout the oven, cleaning any debris or residue. "The Double D oven also contains a water bath, which collects and discards this volatile residue. It has halved our cleaning down-time," says Jones.

Energy-saving features
Spooner Industries of Ilkley has over 75 years’ experience in bakery, developing new technologies in its in-house testing and R&D facilities. The company’s tunnel ovens are designed with an energy efficiency mode installed. During product change-over, the oven temperature and airflow can be automatically lowered, while remaining ready to bake with minimal energy usage. Spooner has also integrated energy-saving features to automatically minimise the combustion air quantity and can install easy-clean heat recovery systems to capture the flue stack energy and use it to preheat fresh air or for bakery hot water heating.
Adjustable air systems allow Spooner’s tunnel oven to alter its baking characteristics, providing the ability to adjust heat flux at numerous points throughout the baking process. The company uses various methods of retraction for ease of access, including traditional hinge doors, retracting doors and a complete retracting top half. Specific attention is paid to hygiene throughout the detail, design and also in the manufacturing techniques used in the oven construction.
Forced convection systems provide uniform airflow, which results in even and consistent bake quality, says the company, while the installation of radiant effect damper systems offers versatility in the type of bake between either convection or radiant type baking to give the product the desired quality and appearance.
Spooner Industries recently secured a fourth order from Warburtons to design and manufacture a tunnel oven for its new ’super-bakery’ in Bristol. Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton says: "The new Bristol Bakery is one of our biggest developments. We’ve invested heavily in the latest state-of-the-art equipment from companies we know and trust."
Spooner Vicars, a separate company, also supplies tunnel ovens.
Benier UK supplies ovens to suit every type of bakery and works with four main manufacturers three within the Kaak Group, and Sveba Dahlen, a specialist semi-industrial oven supplier in Sweden. Within Kaak are: German-based Daub, which pioneered the use of thermal oil ovens, saving customers up to 30% on their energy costs while producing a quality end product; and Italian firm MCS, a specia-list manufacturer of pizza ovens and industrial cyclotherm ovens. Its products are also suitable for almost any kind of baked goods, from traditional bread (hearth-baked) to all types of panned bread, rolls and the more delicate products. MCS ovens can reach a baking temperature of up to 350°C. Also, in the Kaak Group itself is the Multi-Step oven which travels vertically rather than horizontally.
The Daub Hanseat range is a multi-deck tunnel oven system that can either be batch or continuous. Its special system means heat cannot escape when products are being loaded and the oven is aimed at large bakeries that require a continuous throughput. David Marsh, managing director of Benier UK, says: "Daub’s ovens use thermal oil to heat a radiator, which runs through the oven and maintains it at the optimum temperature throughout its entire length, a bit like a domestic central heating system that maintains the same heat throughout a property."
The MCS Bakemaster tunnel oven can be supplied with either a wire mesh or a stone plate baking conveyor. The wire mesh oven is suitable for hearth-baked products as well as baking on trays or in tins, pans and moulds. Similarly, one or more turbo zones can be incorporated to optimise heat transfer. Its modular design also allows each Bakemaster oven to be easily adapted to bake a wide range of products, such as rolls hearth-baked and in pans or trays; bread hearth-baked and/or in tins; cakes; confectionery; and pizza.
The MCS direct-fired HT Oven is used for baking products that require high temperatures, often more than 350°C, such as pizzas, pitta bread and other similar products.
The Kaak Multi-Step vertical tunnel oven has an indexing chain at the entrance, which lifts the baking trays stepwise towards the top of the oven. The trays are then pushed into the second baking chamber, where a similar stepping mechanism will bring them down. This process is repeated, after which the trays will leave the oven.