Editor Dan Malovany and publisher Jeff Heath sought out the best, wurst and global trends at the big bakery show in Düsseldorf.

Gluten Tag from iba 2009 in Germany

I would like to say what happens in Germany, stays in Germany, but unfortunately, all work and no play made Dan a dull boy. But this wasn’t Las Vegas, and 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 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 huge 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 throughout the show as companies featured new developments in proofing and oven technology. Specifically, companies such as Revent, MIWE and The WP 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 when the behemoth of all retailers (psst Walmart) says it’s time to go green or go away, bakers are starting to come around to the concept that can save money in more ways than one.

In fact, MIWE has extended energy efficiency to the opposite end of the spectrum with its eco-freeze absorption refrigerating plant, which chills things down to 10˚C by using waste heat from baking ovens, a central boiler or other sources to generate cold, notes Hans Jürgen Stahl of the Germany-based company’s newly formed energy business unit.

Likewise, artisan bread bakers are searching for new ways to improve their freezing capability, including multiple airflow combinations that reduce freezing time and better capture the quality of the product, according to Federico Magrei, area manager for alit USA, Luverne, Minn.

To improve plant efficiency and throughput, Revent highlighted its vacuum cooler, which not only drastically reduces cooling times, but also can triple the shelf life of products, adds Terry Flanagan, U.S. national sales manager for the Piscataway, N.J., company.

In the front end of production, taking the stress out of makeup lines continued to advance to new levels as companies like Fritsch, König, Rademaker, Rheon and Rondo focused on gentle dough handling lines that rely on versatile modular systems that can be rolled in and out of production to produce everything from croissants, puff pastry and flatbreads to baguettes, ciabatta and even conventional panned breads.

Peerless Machinery rolled out a new generation of depositor that meters out batter by weight instead of by volume. ThePeerless-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 baked mini-muffins at the booth of its partner, Auto-Bake. The Australian-based company not only featured its signature, space-savingSerpentineoven, but also displayed such options as multilingual maintenance and monitoring controls or 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 Group also highlighted maintenance and preventive engineering with its Blue Value proposition. The comprehensive maintenance program includes the distinctive Blue Box, which is a blue plastic case filled with 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.

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. In future issues ofSnack Food & Wholesale Bakery, we’ll further explore the innovative, cost-saving systems that were featured at the World of Baking exhibition. Stay tuned.

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 2,650 calories, according to his pedometer. Hmm, that’s the equivalent of 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.

Dan Malovany, editor