To assist customers in overcoming complexities in the installation process, hence reducing downtime, GEA has been offering the possibility of preassembling modules at the production facility in Verona, Italy. 

“The aim of plug-and-play ovens is to speed up the installation process, in order to reduce production downtime at the customer facility,” says Mario Da Ros, senior director of project management at GEA. “Preassembled ovens are a great way to ensure a high-quality installation phase of our ovens, given that it is mainly carried out at our own facility” he continues.

At the beginning of the project to create a plug-and-play service, GEA engineers carried out a theoretical study on a 65 m long and 1.2 m wide oven. Considering that there are many factors in place such as conveyor belt, fuel, and heating system used, a good estimate of the time needed to install the disassembled oven is around 45 days. With the plug-and-play option, it is reportedly possible to reduce the installation time to as little as 20 days. This study looked at both the mechanical assembly and electrical connections but did not include commissioning.

The impressive benefits of this new plug-and-play option were recently demonstrated during the installation of a very large oven for an overseas customer. Gianluca Dolci, senior director of project execution at GEA reports, “In December 2023 we delivered a 124 m long and 1.6 m wide oven to Indonesia. We managed to display all 58 pre-assembled modules in five days, which meant that GEA electricians could start working on the oven at the customer’s site at the same time as GEA mechanics, a huge advantage that guarantees a much faster installation”. In this case, the 124 m oven took four weeks instead of eight thanks to the pre-assembled modules. 

Plug-and-play ovens reportedly significantly reduce labor costs: the total number of people working on the line is reduced, both for mechanics and electricians. In particular, the need for highly specialized personnel is no longer fundamental, as the most complex operations are carried out during the pre-assembly of the modules at GEA’s production site.

Installing plug-and-play ovens also reportedly increases safety; the baker no longer comes into contact with the rock wool used to insulate the baking chamber. This is an important aspect in terms of safety for the operators and it also guarantees lower costs for the producers because the workers need less personal protective equipment. Furthermore, without rock wool management, it is no longer necessary to isolate the production environment to avoid the risk of contamination with other production lines in operation during the installation process. 

Related: Building automation into ovens, proofers, and ancillary equipment