Consumers enjoy experimenting with ingredients, whether it’s green banana flour, pink chocolate-filled wafers, and blue algae cake toppings – some examples among Mintel’s ingredients to watch this year. This means manufacturers have to get creative with products, and rely on precise formulations, from maintaining free-from production lines, to automated processing.
How does equipment for depositing and filling help with accurate dosage of ingredients with various consistencies, achieved at required speeds consistently? Adriaan van Houwelingen, technical sales manager at Tromp, explained what equipment can used for depositing batter and how. On the other hand, Tobias Hornsteiner, owner and general manager at Unifiller, told us how this technology is customized, and what innovations will further simplify work in the future.
Roller vs. Piston Systems: Tromp Equipment
The most common systems in Tromp’s portfolio are the roller (gearwheel) system and the piston system. Both units can be used for depositing batter, Adriaan van Houwelingen, technical sales manager, tells us: “The piston depositor is a volumetric system with a very accurate deposit. These days, most customers are choosing the servo driven system,
due to a better control on suction as well as on the depositing movement. Controlling the speed of the piston gives the customer much more flexibility and control, especially for the high-aerated batters (FA chiffon cake with a 0,3 density); it also lets the customer control how they deposit the batter into the tray/pan. With the servo system, you can easily make a spot or a long stripe, all recipe controlled. The roller system is used more for heavier batters, up to a paste-style batter consistency. We mostly work with a 4-roll style unit with two feeding rollers with two-lob style rollers underneath. This system is also recipe controlled and can run on spots as well as on continuous mode.”
Some requested customizations are in incorporating double flavors and in decorations. Tromp provides the flavor piston, as well as a double flavor roller depositor. Both systems are very flexible on making swirl-style products, as well as side-by- side or stacked. One machine can be programmed to do all these.
Requests for machines with higher operation capacities are increasing. For example, a recent such request Tromp has had is to produce more than 100,000 cupcakes per hour. This requires higher speed lines, which can lead to an unsustainable speed for trays. “We developed much bigger trays, with a tray supplier; this slows down the tray speed per hour. For the depositor, we engineered a piston depositor that can do 100 products in one movement. The key change we see is higher speed, but keep equipment flexibility and reduce downtime for cleaning and maintenance!”
The Operating Principles
The depositing process is vital for manufacturing a wide range of baked goods, and equipment has to handle batters with various textures/viscosity. For this, Unifiller offers equipment in the following categories: transfer pumps, single piston fillers, multi piston fillers and servo-driven depositors.
“Our Hopper Topper transfer pumps are capable of pumping all kinds of flowable products, from liquid to sticky – they can even contain chunks of up to 25mm. They work purely pneumatically. Additionally, they can be equipped with a Photo Sensor, which helps to automatically refill the hopper of your depositor.
All pumps are driven pneumatically and due to our piston technology, we simulate ‘hand scoping’ which is extremely gentle on the products. Products will not be damaged in structure or viscosity,” Tobias Hornsteiner explains.
In addition, Unifiller’s solutions include a wide range of single piston fillers: “They all are pneumatically driven and do not need any electronic components. Suckback- and deposit speed can be adjusted according to the product consistency. The big advantage of the our Universal 2000i depositor can process batters with pieces of up to 36mm and is capable of depositing 2.75 kg per single stroke,” he adds.
When it comes to higher output in industrial environments, Hornsteiner recommends multi-piston fillers. “With machines like our Multi Station or the Servo Multi, producers can deposit up to 12 rows at a time and achieve highest production efficiency!”
The Servo machines are powered with a servo drive, production settings for each recipe can be stored for very quick and easy product change-overs. Explains the specialist: “All our depositors can be equipped with a wide range of accessories to make them fit the different products and applications.”
Multi-lane Filling Technology
German equipment manufacturer Albert Handtmann Maschinenfabrik specializes in multi-viscosity depositing and filling solutions, with weight accuracy at all temperatures. One of the Handtmann pioneering new developments, tried-and-tested solution for small-scale, medium-scale and industrial producers is the Depositing System DS 551.
The company tells us: “One application of the DS 551 is continuously applying fillings onto laminating systems and dough sheet lines on multiple lanes. The other option is multi-lane spot depositing into a variety of containers
such as molds and trays. The depositing station comprises a portioning machine with a driven FST 546 filling flow divider with 2 – 8 lanes and a mobile equipment carrier.
For medium-scale and industrial producers, this is the perfect solution for accurate weight depositing of highly pasty, chunky and very soft fillings.
You can read more in our print magazine European Baker & Biscuit (March/April 2017)!