Automation, ease of operation, simple cleanability, hygienic design, operator safety, and the ability to process nontraditional and healthier ingredients are among the top of mind requests for snack and bakery operators looking to buy or upgrade laminators or sheeters.
Bakeries and snack makers in the market for ovens, proofers, fryers, and dryers have a healthy list of features and benefits in mind. These include capabilities for customization and flexibility, reliability and consistency, temperature control, faster processing times and continuous production, and automation that operators can control and monitor remotely.
The nature of snack and bakery operations poses challenges to manufacturers of robotics equipment. Space is an issue. Also, the equipment must be able to handle a wide range of products of different shapes and sizes at high speeds while not damaging the goods.
Customers of ingredient handling equipment are focused on a wide mix of factors to come up with their optimal formulation. These include accuracy, traceability, food safety, automation, cleanability, efficiency, flexibility, batch quality and fire safety, manufacturers say.
The latest product handling equipment, cartoners, case erectors and packers, loaders and palletizers, features maximum flexibility in terms of product handling and packaging styles, which is good news for bakery and snack producers.
New robotics technology is helping to improve primary and secondary packaging applications in snack food and wholesale bakery operations. Areas of innovation include end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), robot learning, sanitation and space optimization. Given the efficiency improvements robotics can bring to manufacturing—and the growing level of flexibility the technology now offers—its use is expanding.