High IQ Baking Technology: Industry 4.0

Robots, artificial intelligence, the cloud, algorithms, machines that talk to each other, perform complex analyses and provide highly specific alerts. Welcome to the world of Industry 4.0.

Profits are maximized as a result of the accurate synchronization of several mechanisms. In baking facilities, this means optimizing productivity, achieving a maximum level of flexibility to be able to adapt to changing trends quickly, reduce costs and minimize waste. Industry 4.0 provides the tools to achieve this.

“Smart” Bakery Projects

As a technology supplier that develops and provides state-of-the-art equipment, Mecatherm shares their views on IoT benefits in the industry. “We consider that in industry 4.0, and particularly in the project management regarding production lines, there are several phases, which we are presenting during iba as well. You need industry 4.0 for the entire industrial life cycle of your production line. This starts from the pre-project stage, through to the development and completion of the project, and includes training staff, installing and running the production line. Afterward, you operate and manage your production flow. The last phase is maintenance,” Raymond Nogael, group director of marketing and business development at Mecatherm tells us. For each of these before-during-after stages, the company defines specific industry 4.0 solutions:

  • A virtualization solution is designed to help with the first “before” stage: the complex, future production line is rendered in 3D, helping the manufacturer fully understand the environment, learn how to install the line, and be confident with the future asset.
  • Simulation is another solution we propose, with two objectives: finding the right parameters of the line by simulating production of specific goods, and finding the right changeovers on the long run, which benefits the manufacturer. All parameters in terms of quality control, proofing, baking, etc., can be set in the system to get the best changeover for each product, and in this way maximize production. Flexibility is very important, and it not only implies having the right equipment but also optimizing it as much as possible.
  • The emulation tool is dedicated to equipment: for each machine, there is a specific program allowing the 3D visualization of all the sensors. This helps operators understand how to detect problems, alerts, and to remotely control the equipment and even repair it. This is especially important in the case of very large pieces of equipment, which can be as tall as 8m, for example. Both the emulation and the simulation tools are developed with Siemens.
  • For the “after” stage, for the maintenance of the line in use, we are launching a new concept of e-connect, an application that analyzes the large amount of data stored in the cloud and all deviations that may occur in processes, equipment, or product quality. The application will then send a warning directly to the device: at this point, we are not talking about a problem yet, but identifying any deviation from set parameters (i.e. temperature changes, chamber sounds varying in intensity with as little as 0.1 bpm, changes in product size, etc). This will make maintenance truly predictive.

Integrated Data and Process Control

Shick Esteve provides integrated data and process control that focuses on giving customers greater access to their data, Travis Stoll, director of service and technology, tells us on behalf of the company. Clarity ™ by Shick Esteve provides clarity of data in a contextual format, allowing customers to make real-time decisions that will maximize their production.

Jason Stricker, director sales & marketing with Shick Esteve, adds that “Many bakeries are still relying on hand-written tracking sheets for raw ingredient lots, and many of these then must be transcribed into their manufacturing software. The duplication of effort increases labor and allows the potential for simple data entry mistakes. Automating lot tracking using bar codes and RFID-type scanners allows a single point collection of the data that can then be electronically transferred upstream.”

Automation will typically be driven by a need for greater hourly production, increased accuracy of ingredient additions to the process, greater consistency, or labor/material savings. “Processors stand to greatly reduce the cost of ingredients when they can switch from bags to bulk storage. When it comes to minor ingredients there is typically less in material savings, but the increased accuracy and consistency of final product can be quantified,” adds Stoll.

Shick Esteve’s Automated Ingredient Management (AIM/ES Track) software integrates with new and existing automated ingredient handling systems. “Our software provides recipe and batch management, production scheduling, lot tracking, traceability and process data acquisition. It can integrate with various front-end management software seamlessly. We can push data upstream to eliminate data entry requirement or allow their system to extract the data required for reporting. All data can be warehoused onsite or in the cloud, allowing for extensive and complete recordkeeping, explains Stricker.

You can read more in our print magazine European Baker & Biscuit (Jul/Aug)! 

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