Best and Wurst of TimesI would like to say what happens in Germany, stays in Germany, but unfortunately, all work and no play made Dan a dull boy. Besides, this wasn’t Las Vegas. We were in Düsseldorf on a mission to check out the latest in baking technology during the day and to eat massive quantities of wursts of every kind at night while washing them down with appropriate amounts of the world’s best alts, pilsners and lagers.
Yes, we were at the iba 2009, and einsfahrt and ausfahrt to you, as well.
Armed with a pedometer on his belt, SF&WB’s publisher Jeff Heath monitored his energy output as he joined me at this triennial exhibition, which ran from Oct. 3-9. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of us monitored our energy input throughout this show, which was attended by 79,000 visitors who had the opportunity to visit any of the 1,059 exhibitors from 55 countries.
From the get-go, it was clear that sustainability was the worst-kept global movement. Energy efficiency was rampant as companies featured new developments in proofing and oven technology. Specifically, Revent, MIWE and The WP Bakery Group displayed a variety of heat exchangers and other systems that save anywhere from 10% to 30% on average in energy cost. Certainly, there is an additional cost and a lengthier return-on-investment with these add-ons, but with retailers saying it’s time to go green or go away, bakers are starting to come around to this concept, which can save money in more ways than one.
In the front end of production, taking the stress out of makeup lines continued to advance to new levels as exhibitors focused on gentle dough handling lines that rely on versatile modular systems to produce everything from croissants and flatbreads to baguettes, ciabatta and even conventional panned breads.
Check out our article on sheeters and laminators in the Production Technology section of this issue.
Meanwhile, Peerless Machinery rolled out a new depositor that meters out batter by weight instead of by volume. The Peerless-branded depositor features a clean-in-place system to streamline changeovers, recipe-driven touch controls and depositing of batter that is up to 10 times as accurate as its piston depositors, says Dale Wells, principal engineer for the Sidney, Ohio-based company. The new depositor made mini-muffins at the booth of its partner, Auto-Bake. That Australian-based company not only featured its signature, space-saving Serpentine oven, but also displayed such options as multilingual maintenance and monitoring controls and a videocam that’s linked to other electronic systems to help Auto-Bake technicians diagnose problems from its offices to anywhere around the world.
The WP Bakery Group also highlighted maintenance and engineering with its Blue Value proposition. The program includes the distinctive Blue Box, which is filled with essential parts to keep the machine up and running. Apparently, the high price of downtime is another variable that has finally made its way into the sticker price of equipment and the cost of doing business in this industry.
Certainly, these are only a few of the dozens of booths that Herr Heath (yes, as in Heath bar) and I visited during our stint in Germany. Stay tuned as we explore the innovative, cost-saving systems in upcoming issues of our magazine.
In the end, the iba show proved to be much more than a marathon for Jeff, who picked up a ton of great information as he took 100,709 steps for a total of 47.69 miles during his stay in Europe.
Sadly, though, he only burned off only 2,650 calories, according to his pedometer. Hmm, maybe it was broken because that’s the equivalent of a “light” dinner that included two foot-long bratwursts, a plate of French fries smothered in mayonnaise and several satisfying glasses of dark ale.
Then again, who said what happens in Germany stays in Germany? We all came back home carrying a little bit extra on us, but not a bit wurst off.
Editor’s Note: Go to www.snackandbakery.com to read more about Dan’s trip to iba in his online-only column.