A look at dividers, rounders and depositors
New and redesigned dividers, rounders and depositors are helping bakers do more than just process dough. They’re enabling them to improve their weight accuracy, productivity, sanitation, flexibility and more.
All bakers and snack manufacturers use a variety of equipment to help them make, package and deliver their products. Because each piece of machinery is often a long-term capital investment, food processors want to be sure they’re purchasing equipment that best meets their needs.
When it comes to selecting a divider/rounder, for instance, bakers are looking for models that offer weight accuracy, flexibility, gentle dough handling, easy sanitation and durability, says Rich Breeswine, general manager, Koenig Bakery Systems, Ashland, Va.
The Koenig Mini Rex Multi, Industry Rex III AW and new Rex Futura Multi—improvements on existing Koenig divider/rounders—address these concerns as well as offer a weight range, sanitation and ample capacity. The compact, two-row Koenig Mini Rex Multi offers a weight range of 12-330 g. The Koenig Industry III AW has a weight range from 22-160 g. Introduced in 2014, the Koenig Rex Multi Futura offers a weight range from 17-350 g., and improved sanitation. Capacities range from 2,400 dough pieces per hour for a small bakery to 42,000 dough pieces per hour for a large industrial bakery, says Breeswine.
The Koenig Industry Rex III AW also offers a dough weight accuracy of +/- 1% more than 100% of production, says Breeswine, adding that a typical Koenig divider/rounder has a weight accuracy of +/- 2%, depending on the dough.
Koenig’s dough-dividing system also gently divides dough to maintain cell structure and deliver a “very high-quality roll,” he notes. In addition, internal food-contact parts are now removable for easy cleaning and sanitation.
“Many of the Koenig machines have been in continuous operation for 20-plus years, a testament to the durability of the brand,” Breeswine adds.
Rich Wall, general sales and marketing manager, Sottoriva America Inc., Charlotte, N.C., says the company’s distinctive, hopper-fed divider/rounders offer bakers maximum productivity, gentle dough handling, maximum weight ranges and maximum flexibility at an affordable cost.
Sottoriva America has three models for the production of soft to hard dough balls: The two-pocket Lyra produces 2,200 to 3,300 pieces per hour, with a weight range of 0.75-5.5 oz. (divided and rounded); the Dinamica—available in a four-, five- and six-pocket model—produces 3,200 to 9,600 pieces per hour, while offering a weight range of 0.75-6.5 oz. (depending on the model); and the Athena Plus, which comes in a four-, five- and six-pocket model, produces 5,000 to 15,000 pieces per hour and offers a weight range of 0.7-7.1 oz. (depending on the model).
The Athena Large Plus divider/rounder offers one- to six-pocket interchangeability, a full scaling weight range of 0.7 oz. to 24 oz. and a full rounding capability of 0.-12.5 oz. (with a complete selection of optional pistons and rounding drums). “The Athena Large Plus is the most flexible divider/rounder on the market,” says Wall. “[It] serves as the driving force within the Sottoriva Flexline and Super Flexline roll plants, for the enhanced, automated production of round rolls, molded rolls, half baguettes, full baguettes and stamped roll products all on one line.”
Separate, but equally important
“It starts with scaling,” affirms John McIsaac, vice president, strategic business development, at Reiser, Canton, Mass., when asked which factors are most important to bakers and snack manufacturers when purchasing a divider. “Whenever someone is selecting a divider, they must choose a piece of equipment that will scale accurately. The divider is the ‘cash register’ of the line. The closer you can maintain scaling to label weight, the more money the producer makes.” Versatility, he adds, is also becoming more important to producers.
Reiser’s Vemag dividers address both of these concerns. “The ability to maintain great scaling at the highest production rates is a trademark of the Vemag,” McIsaac says. “Vemag dividers are [also] the most versatile dividers in the world. A unique, double-screw portioning system allows the Vemag to run dough with absorption in the 40% range to doughs in the 90% plus range.”
Recent advances in the double screws and infeed system enable the Vemag to produce exact-weight portions with less work on the product. “This allows the Vemag to run bread doughs, rolls and buns with pocket-divider quality, but with superior scaling and the low-cost of ownership our dividers are known for,” McIsaac adds.
Vemag systems are also modular. “The same Vemag that runs a single line of high-speed bread can be quickly swapped over to running multiple lane rolls,” he explains. In addition, Reiser now offers multiple rounding options to complement its dividers, including small barrel rounders, conical rounders, single- and multiple-lane on-belt rounders and loading solutions.
The most recent addition to Cinch Bakery Equipment’s divider/rounder program—the RS-A by Seilnacht Bakery Service-Bakery Technology in Niedereschach, Germany—offers bakers and snack producers a separate divider and rounding device.
“Rolf Seilnacht was formerly chief engineer of the Winkler Admiral divider/rounder,” explains Cindy Chananie, president of the Clifton, N.J.-based North American distributor for Seilnacht. “After servicing the Admiral for many years, Seilnacht realized that it took a lot of time and effort for service. The Admiral was a divider and rounder in one machine. All of the gears, chains, drive, motors, etc., complicated the machine and meant that maintenance was a headache. In 2009, Seilnacht engineered a completely new design that resulted in two separate machines: A divider and a machine for rounding.”
The RS-A divider has no chains, making it easier to clean and handle, says Chananie. The unit also has a servo motor to handle dough pressure, and is built completely of stainless steel and plastic, with small parts made from aluminum.
“The old Admiral design often included a common drive to run the intermediate proofer with a clutch-and-brake system, which added a significant amount of money to the overall cost of the [unit],” Chananie says. “The RS has no common drive. A motor is simply added to the intermediate proofer. It’s much simpler, efficient and cost-effective.”
The RS-AT, a drum-rounding device, features improvements as well. “The Admiral inner moulding drum was aluminum and very expensive to purchase,” says Chananie. “The upgraded drum from Seilnacht has an aluminum frame, but the rosettes (dimples) are individual and made of plastic. It’s much less expensive to replace one rosette at a time.”
Available from Bakery Concepts International LLC, Enola, Pa., the Bloemhof BM-42 boule moulder addresses most baker concerns, including noise, changeover time, versatility, flexibility and production speed. “We think all of these factors are important, but feel strongly that sanitation will become an increasingly higher concern when the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is fully implemented,” says Bryan Stratton, president, Bloemhof USA Inc., Salt Lake City. “We have always promoted versatility as a fundamental selling point for all Bloemhof USA products. Machinery needs to adapt with changing market trends.”
Introduced in 2005, the artisan dough rounder features several advantages over previous models: Variable independent inner cone consolation and drum rotation speeds; variable inner drum eccentric arc; and NEMA 4X electrical. “We have worked hard to engineer a machine with speed and rotation adjustments for every axis, making the [BM-42] the most versatile boule rounder available today,” Stratton says.
The current model also is constructed from 304 stainless steel for easy cleaning and sanitation.
Depositors that go the distance
As with dividers and rounders, several attributes top bakers and snack manufacturers “must” list when selecting a depositor.
“Bakers and snack manufacturers are telling us they want flexibility in all of their new production lines, so they can maximize the number of different stock-keeping units (SKUs) produced through one line,” says Cesar Zelaya, bakery technology manager, Handtmann Inc., Lake Forest, Ill. “This growing requirement for flexibility means minimal downtime for sanitation and product changeovers is becoming more important. Low total ownership cost is also becoming a much bigger consideration, as new efficiencies become the focus at every stage of operation, even as the demand for product quality increases and concern about employee and food-safety issues are paramount.”
Handtmann’s redesigned VF 600 Bakery Series, which the company introduced last October at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas, comprises a complete line of dividers and depositors that address these must-haves. “The new bakery-specific line offers bakers and snack processors all of the traditional benefits that Handtmann dividing and depositing equipment has offered for decades to other segments of the food industry, but now with the added benefit of adapted systems that meet unique baking industry demands,” says Zelaya.
The company offers a broad selection of attachments for the series with quick-release mechanisms and tool-free assembly to minimize disassembly and cleaning downtime and simplifying labor requirements and training. And like all of Handtmann’s equipment, units in the series handle high-pressure washdowns and have modular designs, so they can be easily moved for cleaning.
Zelaya adds some final customer feedback: “Bakers are telling us they really like Handtmann’s ability to deliver correct weights with minimal fluctuation over the lifetime of the equipment—a real must-have as the price of ingredients increases.”
“By far, it’s weight control,” says Mike Sherd, managing partner, Egan Food Technologies, regarding bakers’ and snack producers’ top priorities when selecting depositing equipment. “They want to make sure their weights are good and that they’re not giving away product. Then, there are sanitation and cleanability, which are huge for allergens, so equipment has to be easily accessible.” Changeover times also figure into the equation because downtime impacts productivity and profitability.
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company offers customized wire-cut machines with quick-change filler blocks and dies with a clean-in-place (CIP) option and servo, frozen dough wire-cut extruders. The processing equipment offers bakers and snack producers easy accessibility and tool-less changeovers and has good washdown characteristics, says Sherd, adding that the company is receiving the most requests for the servo wire-cut extruder.
Unifiller Systems Inc., a manufacture of depositors to bakeries and food manufacturers worldwide, “goes the extra mile when it comes to food safety and machine sanitation,” says Stewart Macpherson, owner and vice president, sales and marketing. An example of how the Delta, British Columbia-based company does this is by eliminating bug traps around flexible hose connections that normally attach with hose clamps requiring tools for removal for cleaning.
“We use dairy standard hoses fitted with clamp-free sanitary fittings,” Macpherson explains. “This is a more expensive option than using hose clamps, but we believe we should always offer the best solution, even if not the cheapest.” He adds that the company designs all of its machines with as few parts as possible, so there are fewer parts to clean, damage or lose. In addition, all contact parts are removable without tools, in seconds.
Among company’s product line is the Unifiller Dopositor, which automatically deposits cookie dough, scones, gluten-free dough and shortbread mixes at high speed without changing product integrity. “It can make up to 60 cuts or rows per minute and handle large inclusions such as nuts, fruit or chocolate chunks without damaging the pieces,” says Macpherson, referring to the Dopositor as the company’s “heavy-duty workhorse.”
When changing over to a different product, bakers can dismantle the Dopositor’s entire roller assembly in minutes, without the use of tools. The patented roller design also increases the friction, enabling product to be gently pulled through the machine.
The Unifiller High-Speed Multi Station Piston Depositor offers high-speed production rates and increased accuracy, due to individual portion control measured through each nozzle. “We believe the Multi Station could well be the fastest free-standing depositor on the market today,” says Macpherson. The servo-driven, electronic-controlled machine has a programmable color touchscreen, and all of the machine’s settings are stored as product recipes for quick retrieval by the baker.
Unifiller’s Universal 1000i bakery depositor, a single-piston, volumetric depositor, cleanly deposits cake, muffin and cupcake batters, chunky fillings, sauces and delicate mousse fillings. “This machine is designed by our engineers, who are guided by our motto, ‘We create the easy way,’” says Macpherson. “This means we designed the machine with the least amount of parts to maintain, clean, damage or lose.”
The Universal 1000i accommodates more than 100 standard machine attachments, including depositing heads and hand-held nozzles. It can be quickly and easily disassembled for cleaning or product changeover.
Whether they’re in the market for a new divider, rounder or depositor, bakers and snack manufacturers are sure to find the equipment that best meets their concerns and needs. In no time at all, they and their products will be in perfect shape.
Rising to the gluten-free challenge
As more consumers are buying gluten-free products, some bakers are adding gluten-free baked goods to their offerings, while others are expanding their gluten-free lines. Bakers unfamiliar with gluten-free dough might find working with it challenging if they don’t have the right equipment. Fortunately, several divider, rounder and depositor manufacturers have what it takes to help their customers go gluten-free.
The increase in demand for equipment to handle gluten-free products is a real growth area for Handtmann. The nature of gluten-free doughs, specifically their lack of cell structure, is easily handled by Handtmann’s patented Vane Cell Technology, which gently portions and deposits a wide range of dough and batter densities through a much shorter path directly into baking pans or trays. The Vane Cell design reduces product movement, minimizing friction and reducing temperature rise.
—Cesar Zelaya, bakery technology manager, Handtmann Inc., Lake Forest, Ill.
Gluten-free portioning is one of our fastest-growing markets. The Vemag can handle the wet, sticky doughs often associated with gluten-free recipes, as well as viscous, low-absorption doughs. Rather than formulating gluten-free products to run though the make-up equipment, the Vemag runs the product the producer wants to make. Our myriad of easily changeable attachments allow producers to get exact-weight portions in the form and shape they want, and in either single or multiple lanes.
—John McIsaac, vice president, strategic business development, Reiser, Canton, Mass.
The Sottoriva family of roll divider/rounders are 100% suitable for gluten-free, whole-grain and allergen-free roll production.
—Rich Wall, general sales and marketing manager, Sottoriva America Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
In recent years, we have seen rapid growth in and consumer demand for gluten-free products in stores. These products come in all shapes, sizes and forms—gluten-free breads, scones and cookies. They also come with their own individual challenges when it comes to production and portioning machines. At Unifiller, we have had great success in achieving the required results of bakers with several of our machines: The roller-driven Dopositor for the products with a dough-like consistency or one of our volumetric piston depositors for products requiring smaller portions and also including large pieces of fruit, chocolate or nuts.
—Stewart Macpherson, owner and vice president, sales and marketing, Unifiller Systems Inc., Delta, British Columbia