As the baking industry’s breakout star, the tortilla has equipment suppliers pulling out all the stops.
There’s no rest for the weary, the idiom goes. And doesn’t the tortilla industry know it. The flatbread has shaken off its ethnic trappings and broken into the American mainstream, becoming known and loved for its adaptability and versatility. Of course, a greater demand requires an increase in supply, and so tortilla producers are turning to their suppliers for help in delivering the bread of the day.
Tim Jones, marketing communications specialist for Ashworth Bros., Winchester, Va., says his company can confirm that tortilla demand is up, based on a corresponding demand for more equipment.
“We have seen an increase in demand for oven belts to the tortilla industry,” he says, “both for our CB5 and CB3 baking bands.”
Caleb Reyes, regional sales manager for corn processing at Heat and Control, Hayward, Calif., agrees that the tortilla has become America’s new everybread. As a result, the flatbread is now subject to an ever-increasing number of food trends.
“Tortilla formulations have adapted to reach mainstream America,” Reyes explains. “ e demand for gluten free, whole grain, low sodium, low fat, high fiber, etc., has and will continue to directly affect the development of new formulations. Also, because of the many markets reached–processed prepared foods, traditional Mexican restaurants, fast food restaurants, etc.–tortillas have continued to grow in physical size.”
is demand for new tortilla styles and sizes has forced suppliers to go back to the drawing board to redesign tortilla systems. Reyes points out that the requirements for a piece of tortilla equipment today are staggering.
“Today’s systems are able to produce a high variety of tortillas that meet today’s trends, from carrot flavors, whole grain, gluten free to low fat and low sodium, the many different sizes that are used for tacos and burritos, and, of course, the different colors that make tortillas more attractive and festive.” And these are just what make consumers happy. Tortilla producers have their own checklist of needs. Reyes has seen several mandatory features requested.
“The features that are essential are the ability to produce consistent product, higher capacities and high quality,” he notes. “Also, the flexibility to run different formulations (flavors), shapes and sizes is a key feature.”
Jones points out that the industry’s move toward increased automation also has impacted equipment needs.
“Instead of the hundreds of small manual systems that might have used 5 ft. by 2 ft. ovens with flex-type wire belts, we see the mainstream bakeries installing automated systems that might use 50 ft. by 4 ft. ovens running CB3-type bands,” he explains.
With the explosion of the tortilla market in the mainstream, it’s unlikely this versatile product will be going anywhere for a while. So what can tortilla producers expect from tomorrow’s tortilla equipment?
“Well, the sky is the limit,” Reyes says. “But along with higher capacities and efficiencies, completely automated controls and systems integration will be a must–system integration that provides controls that are easy to understand and operate, and control centers that allow you to view and adjust entire systems from multiple locations and even off site.”
Sounds like a tortilla producer’s–and consumer’s–dream.
RELIABLE BELT PERFORMANCE
For expertly baked tortillas, use a baking band designed specifically for tortilla ovens. The CB3 baking band from Ashworth is engineered to traverse the 6-in. terminal rolls commonly found in tortilla ovens. Greater flexibility prevents the band’s mesh from bending and breaking under duress.
Ashworth Bros. Inc.
800 682 4594
SPEED UP DOUGH PRODUCTION
Add versatility to your production line with the Vemag dough divider from Reiser. Designed to handle all kinds of tortilla dough, the Vemag adjusts easily to produce a wide spectrum of exact-weight portions, dough absorptions and crumb structures. The dough divider’s double-screw transport system handles dough gently and consistently. Production is fast, with the Vemag running tortilla dough in single or double lanes at 200- plus exact-weight pieces per minute. For even greater production, Reiser’s high-speed servo-driven dough divider can produce eight lanes of product up to 300 times per minute.
781 821 1290
PRECISE CORN TORTILLA SHEETING
Produce uniform corn tortillas and chips without frequent setting adjustments with Heat and Control’s masa sheeters. Piece weight remains consistent thanks to a lack of roll and frame deflections, and differential roll speeds ensure clean product transfer. Direct gear drive means belt and chain maintenance is eliminated, and the open frame cuts down on cleaning time.
Heat and Control Inc.
800 227 5980
PROCESS LARGE QUANTITIES OF TORTILLAS
The TP-4242 programmable flour tortilla press from Casa Herrera features 42-in. by 42-in. platens with 18 heaters per platen, a 20 hp hydraulic power unit, an all stainless steel frame, a conveyor and a belt tracking system. It provides operators with three zone temperature controls for both the top and bottom platens, which are adjusted via a touch screen. A 3-in. front drive roller for the Teflon belt allows for high-speed transfer. Teflon belt indexing is controlled using a fiber optic sensor.
800 624 3916