Companies have been releasing a wide range of new ovens and proofers suited to snack and bakery operations, and the diversity is sure to cultivate a strong level of appeal across the board. This new range of equipment focuses on ease of use, technical improvements, better sanitary design and new levels of efficiency.

Quality improvements

“With our equipment’s precise oven zone temperature, bakers are in control of the ‘bake’,” says Mike Day, president, Banner-Day, Saginaw, MI. “This results in optimized oven operation and high-quality, consistent and efficiently produced products.” The company notes that Banner-Day’s TOC (Total Oven Control) solution featuring its SmartBake burner and temperature control technology is able to achieve precise zone temperature control in direct-fired oven applications, and its oven zone temperatures are maintained between +/- 2°F of its set point.

Precision is a target for many new ovens, as seen in the new Rototherm Green rack oven from WP Bakery Group USA, Shelton, CT. “The oven improves quality with the most-even bake in the industry,” said Stephen Machado, vice president, food service division. “All products top to bottom and left to right receive a perfectly dispersed steam—when the recipe calls for it—and bakes perfectly even.”

Koma’s line of retarder-proofers and conditioning units, sold exclusively by Bakon USA, offers an accurate temperature control, as well as control of the humidity and air speed. Those three key parameters are constantly monitored by the company’s proprietary KControl computerized control system.

“The Koma models are the best-quality insurance for the operators,” comments Luc Imberechts, president, Bakon USA, Torrance, CA. “They are designed to adapt to the needs of the production planning, as well as the desired quality of the finished product.”

MIWE America LLC, Hillsborough, NJ, uses its control systems to help boost the quality of products. “Autostart brings the oven into the correct modus to start the baking oven programmed in the morning, which helps avoid wrong conditions during the day and prepares the automatic cleaning control just in time before baking in the morning,” remarks Harry Jacoby, president.

MIWE’s customers can also save energy by using Eco-Modus, without losing time when baked goods are needed, and MIWE flexbake, which offers flexibility to accommodate differing amounts of dough in the oven.

Revent, which invented the first rack oven in 1958, just released the ONE series rack ovens. The round oven chamber combined with its new RTCC (Round Total Convection Control) system and the RHVS (Revent High Volume Steam) results in minimized weight loss, an even bake and maximized bread volume. ONE ovens can bake everything from delicate pastries, like macarons, to large breads and tin breads, without any adjustments to air speed.

“The GIAC control makes it easy to program baking recipes with steam cycles, damper adjustments, etc., reducing the risk of input errors that are likely with manual operation,” said Daniel Lago, CEO, Revent Inc., Piscataway, NJ.

Stewart Systems recently released the Texas Titan, which offers a patented dual recirculation system that independently controls both the bottom and top convection. The control also adds another variable to dial-in precise product characteristics by recipe.

The new 960 Hurricane oven, from Baker Thermal Solutions, utilizes true zonal compatibility of temperature, moisture, steam injection and independent top and bottom forced convection. The oven’s design is also equipped with center-fed Chevron burners, which improve the lateral heat distribution consistency through the width of the oven. The oven has an automated lateral heat balance system that controls the lateral return air balance within the forced convection system for near-perfect lateral heat distribution.

A new rack oven from Wachtel helps lend a hearth-baked look to finished baked goods. “Wachtel boasts that the R-Evolution has the soul of a deck oven,” says Cindy Chananie, president, Cinch Bakery Equipment, Clifton, NJ, which represents the German-based manufacturer in the U.S. “The unique combination of thermal convection plus thermal radiation with an increased infrared rate produces pastries, rolls and even large loaves with a signature hearth-based look.”

Wachtel’s final baking result promises more flavor, increased volume, delicate cell structure, a longer shelf life and an eye-catching split at the crust.

Improved throughput and plant efficiency

Another goal of oven manufacturers is to improve throughput and plant efficiency through use of their equipment, and they are accomplishing this in various ways. Banner-Day’s TOC couples its SmartBake control technology with its reliable SmartBake burner DSI (Direct Spark Ignition), which reduces oven-related scrap and product changeover times.

“By eliminating temperature override and flash heat events, both of these greatly benefit oven and plant throughputs and efficiencies,” says Day.

Chananie comments that efficiency and throughput is a major advantage in Wachtel’s R-Evolution oven. “In the past, a traditional deck oven was the only way to achieve a true European-style, artisan loaf, which required a lot of labor to load and unload each deck,” she says. The operation of the R-Evolution requires far less labor than a deck oven, because the baker simply slides a rack inside the oven.

Revent’s ONE ovens have a short heat-up time and recovery time; the ovens are ready to bake 10 minutes after starting them. The ovens also have a 45 percent smaller effective footprint.

Bakon USA’s unique TeleGuard system allows for round-the-clock remote monitoring. “With a comprehensive approach of the cold technology related to the baked goods—blast freezing and chilling, freezing, recovery and conditioning—the system offers not only major efficiency savings combined with energy savings, but also ensures that the highest product quality is achieved at all times,” Imberechts says.

Radio Frequency Co. advocates replacing post-baking dryers with an RF Macrowave unit, which can result in a 20–30 percent increase in band speed, as well as productivity.

“The RF post-baking dryer will quickly and efficiently remove the residual moisture trapped within the center of the product, and it eliminates checking without over-coloring,” says Lisa Mitchell, marketing manager, Radio Frequency Co., Inc., Millis, MA. The company notes that using radio frequency technology in ovens gives bakers a greater ability to control final moisture content and uniformity throughout the product. Benefits include up to 40 percent increase in productivity, virtual elimination of checking and prevention of over-coloring in the finished product caused by the longer dwell times required by conventional ovens. It can also result in products that have a longer shelf life thanks to elimination of excess moisture without having to overheat or overcook the product.

Rototherm Green’s goal is to greatly reduce heat loss when unloading, which also reduces the weight time between loads. Superior insulation, including an insulated floor, and a full 360° door seal reduces bake times up to 25 percent, notes the company. When combined, these translate into 35 percent more throughput. At the same time, up to 40 percent less energy is being used.

Highly efficient proofers and ovens can sometimes replace multiple lines in terms of overall output. “The Texas Titan conveyorized oven and proofer systems have a load capacity of over 1,600 buns per minute, and over 240 loaves. Its speed ratio and flexibility of the new thermal line can replace two vintage lines, whether both are producing the same product type or different types, and this new innovation greatly improves production efficiencies,” said Scott McCally, vice president, Middlebury Bakery Group, Elgin, IL. “Furthermore, this same concept is being used to shutter old bakeries on opposite coasts and build a single, higher-throughput bakery located in the Midwest, which will serve both East and West regions.”

MIWE’s new interface, MIWE go!, is increasing efficiency by being a base for apps like MIWE zoom and MIWE messenger. This enables staff and supervisors to control and monitor what’s going on at the oven and even control the systems. MIWE go!’s graphical user interface, combined with a customizable signal tone for the end of the baking process, offers access to the oven’s most-important functions at a glance, and provides current status information.

MIWE also recently released the MIWE gusto snack, a convection oven which offers all of the functions required for the snack business: steaming, gratinating and regeneration. MIWE go! pairs nicely with the MIWE gusto snack, as the wide range of options offered by the all-rounder can be selected using the MIWE go! interface.

MIWE gusto snack’s easy-to-use steamer and its combined functions allow odor-free preparation and regeneration of meat, fish and vegetables. Its electric convection oven is well-suited to final baking of partially baked products and snacks, and food doesn’t overcook or burn thanks to its multipoint core temperatures sensor. In addition, its top-heat and grill function is ideal for gratinating.

“With its compact dimensions, the MIWE gusto snack saves space for setup and loading, while its easy handling makes installation and cleaning a breeze,” says Jacoby. “Thanks to its AC power connection, the convection oven can be put into operation right away, too.”

Better sanitary design and safety

Oven and proofer manufacturers are now striving to offer equipment with the most up-to-date sanitary design possible.

“Automatic cleaning control in MIWE products is very important to us,” says Jacoby. “The hygienic design of our new MIWE gusto snack, the optional cleaning system MIWE easy clean plus, and the fully automatic MIWE cleaning control make thorough, regular cleaning very easy.”

Banner-Day’s TOC enables bakers to monitor oven performance over time, which helps to ensure that product oven kill step protocols and baking profiles are maintained. This helps with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) oven kill step validation, which is now a responsibility of all bakers.

Radio Frequency Co. uses Macrowave radio frequency pasteurization in its ovens. “Macrowave RF Technology is a clean, efficient pasteurization process for a wide range of food products, and can achieve up to a 5-log reduction in pathogens,” says Mitchell. RF has proven very effective with dry ingredients like flour, cereal grains, protein, spices and seeds, she notes.

RF systems also provide a safe pasteurization method that doesn’t require special labeling of the product, and can still be labeled as organic. Its new Bantam-Series ovens feature open and clear access to all air plenums for ease of sanitation, and all structural members are 100 percent sealed, and weldments complete, so that no contaminants can be introduced. “Dead-spots” have been eliminated, ergonomic enhancements such as gas spring-assisted doors have been added, and applicator cabinets and conveyor systems are washdown-capable with open and clear access.

Texas Titan’s proofer offers an optional channel support design, which eliminates all closed hollow sections inside its environment. Its new standard is a complete 316 stainless steel ductless conditioner system, which included stainless steel piping and heat exchangers. The ductless system decreases the amount of sanitary maintenance, and it also protects the system from the harsh and corrosive environment.

Latest and greatest

This new crop of ovens and proofers highlight a notable range of signature developments.

WP Bakery Group’s Rototherm Green is able to store up to 200 recipes with up to 25 steps each, and pictures of products can be uploaded to allow selection by picture. A single push of a button assures selection of the right process for the right product running on the line.

In addition, operators can access oven information from any Internet connection for production management, recipe uploading, downloading and editing. Service can access error codes for remote diagnosis of problems, too. Rototherm Green’s self-cleaning steam generator requires only yearly maintenance, and has a long life expectancy; there’s also a five-year heat exchanger warranty included.

Radio Frequency Co.’s Macrowave units focus on peak energy conservation. “Macrowave energy is a highly efficient, ‘direct’ form of heating such as that no energy is wasted heating large volumes of air or preheating the system itself. The technology is ‘instant-on, instant-off’ using energy only during the treatment process,” comments Mitchell.

Revent’s ONE series rack ovens are able to manage recipes and collect data on production in order to follow operational productivity and verify that the products were baked at the correct temperatures and times. The ONE ovens also have sliding doors, which improves safety; with a sliding door, there’s no risk of hitting the door with an arm or hand while loading and unloading the oven, and thus a decreased risk of burn injuries.

Banner-Day’s TOC solution features secure remote diagnostics and monitoring. “Whether for an oven OEM, aftermarket equipment broker or a baker, Banner-Day delivers a state-of-the-art oven or griddle control solution to meet your baking needs and budget,” says Day.

Cinch Bakery Equipment’s Wachtel R-Evolution rack oven features a minimal drop in temperature after loading of only 40-60°F, which helps save time and energy. The oven boasts energy savings of up to 30 percent, and the application of a quick-start vertical burner right behind the baking chamber provides an additional energy savings of up to 11 percent.

The R-Evolution oven also has a highly efficient radial fan—high air output circulated at low air speeds to produce an ideal baking atmosphere, without the product drying up—and an oversized vaporizer surface, which ensures superabundant steam and crust formation. The steam feed is fast and uniform, thanks to two steam injection tubes.

Koma retarder-proofers, sold by Bakon USA, have newer qualities, as well. Components include thick insulation panels, a stainless steel interior, a tub-shaped stainless steel flour base, impact protection, and a removable and adjustable stainless pressure wall panel.

“The remote monitoring system, the computerized control panel, the design of the evaporators and the power of the compressors add to the uniqueness and quality of the products,” says Imberechts.