The secret ingredient for efficient baking: consistency

Cookies from a production line

Machines making cookies at a large scale require more consistency and accuracy than your measuring cups can provide in your own kitchen

Beyond flour and sugar, there are a few additional key ingredients to a successful business that a baker must have: skill, passion and consistency.

When working in the world of large, industrial-scale bakeries that supply food products to millions, the first two obviously remain, while reliable consistency becomes even more vital.

Any alteration along the mixing and baking process will deliver wildly different results. That’s why our customer that manufactures fully automated biscuit-making machines required an efficient and reliable speed and torque control. Working with and listening to the machine builders and their customers has allowed us to continually improve our application knowledge and drive software to provide the food and beverage industry with repeatable and reliable results.

The main ingredient for consistency

It turns out the main ingredient for consistency is ABB’s variable speed drives.

The addition of a sophisticated piece of industrial machinery complements a chef’s skill or a baker’s passion, helping them overcome the challenges of complex, large-scale biscuit making by ensuring that it’s a continuous process.

All the stages are linked to each other, regardless of whether it’s receiving the actual ingredients that go into cookies or passing them on to the next stage. Each step of the way, the ability to have specific, individualized speeds ensures that all types of cookies are baked with consistent quality.

Perhaps you know it from your own kitchen, where a snicker doodle, a vanishing oatmeal cookie or a delicious chocolate chip cookie each has a different preparation and baking time. It’s no different on a large scale, and ABB’s variable speed drives take the guess work out of the equation.

In mixing, the correct speed plays a vital role, regardless of which stage in the baking process.

Maintaining quality

For instance, shortening and sugar are mixed at high velocity, whereas flour must be mixed in at a slow speed. Accurately controlling both these stages via a variable speed drive is imperative in order to maintain that delicious quality that customers expect from each biscuit.

The pre-defined mixing patterns accommodated by our drives made it easy and helped save time while also reducing the energy used during the process.

High quality was the most important thing to the machine builder, and, of course, to their customers.

To accomplish this, they placed most of the variable speed drives under manual control, ensuring a fine speed variation depending on each different biscuit. The drives adapt to varying mixing loads accordingly, constantly monitoring the torque each mixing motor requires and adjusting it when necessary.

This isn’t just important in creating perfect biscuits. It avoids sudden, unpredictable changes which can cause mechanical breakdowns of mixers.

For instance, mixers might get jammed if the biscuit mixture is too thick, especially at the outset of the process.

Controlling the torque

With drives monitoring and controlling the torque, however, they deliver high start-up torque.

Another thing that large-scale bakers appreciate: variable speed drives havesucceeded in making those noisy mixers a quieter. With adaptive switching frequency control, the noise can be minimized; the drive regulates the output voltage fed to the mixer, which in turn switches to the appropriate higher switching frequency, resulting in a bakery floor that’s more comfortable to work in for the people keeping an eye on the equipment – and the biscuits that are coming out of it.

When you add the correct ingredient to a complex and delicate process, much like our customer adding ABB drives to theirs, the results speak, or taste, for themselves.

Their choice of ABB variable speed drives helped lower their maintenance and component costs, increased the reliability of each stage and enabled them to turn out even more delectable cookies as efficiently as possible, with less risk of the equipment breaking down.

So when it comes to baking, we’ll leave the skill and passion to our customers. And bring our expertise in consistency to the equation.

Learn more about our drives and customers by visiting our new website.

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About the author

Vilma Lindell

I am global communications manager for ABB drives and motors business units responsible for media relations. Communications is a passion close to my heart whereas curiosity and open mind are leading the way. Traveling, pilates, yoga and my dog keep me busy on my spare time.
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