Depositors perform versatile functions for a wide assortment of bakery foods.
From cookies to pies to cakes, depositors perform versatile functions for a wide assortment of applications. Frequently, production lines will change to produce different bakery foods. Recent developments in depositing technology have made modifying depositors easier and less costly. For the most part, depositors are forced to accommodate multiple changeovers when formulations call for nuts, pastes, fruit fillings, toppings or icings. Staying attentive to depositor demands helps maintain acceptable depositor operation.
Several manufacturers furnish depositors with servo-and stepperdriven motors. Servo-driven motors use encoders that send information to a controlling system, which accurately determines despositing shaft phases during production. Stepper-driven motors move in steps during one revolution. This benefits motor programming, which is used to determine depositor adjustments and volume settings, one depositor manufacturer says. These motors rapidly modify depositors to meet the demands of the next production cycle. Pneumatically-driven piston depositors can be fitted with these motors that use computer systems to quickly change volume settings.
"Instead of taking 20 minutes to make adjustments, it will take one minute," one depositor manufacturer says. These downtimes accumulate when high-volume bakeries require frequent changeovers.
"It would be much nicer to walk over to a control screen, bring up the menu and select the correct production cycle," one depositor manufacturer says. "Bakers can turn a dial to change a setting with the control system's computer to change the amount of volume being deposited."
One manufacturer's depositor uses a stepper-driven motor with sensors to locate and modify depositing volume. The sensors locate the shaft, which drives a cam (mechanical component) to push a rod to its desired position. The main advantage of this depositor set up is that bakers reduce setup time and can quickly change bakery food production, one depositor manufacturer says.
As with most advances in technology and production techniques, innovation does not come cheap. Adding motors that speed up adjustment times increases depositor costs. However, these additional costs can be quickly recovered with shorter downtimes, one depositor manufacturer says.
Maintaining the depositor
Equipment components cannot last forever and depositors are not immune from potential breakdowns. Certain depositor designs use rubber components such as o-rings and bearing seals. When depositors operate beyond the system parameters or are not sanitized routinely, these small components can become damaged. Small cracks can appear on the o-rings, or they can become flat on one side. Depositor manufacturers stress that these parts should be replaced at scheduled times in order to maintain accurate depositing.
Aside from replacing parts, maintenance personal also need to make sure depositors receive adequate air pressure and accurate lubrication. Adding more equipment to a production line may require more air from a bakery's compression system. If a system turns on and draws more air, which reduces the amount of available air the depositor requires, a breakdown can occur. By using air regulators, bakers can monitor air pressure that reaches the depositing portion of the production line.
"When expanding the plant, make sure the air compressor capabilities also expand," one depositor manufacturer says.
Depositor lubrication also needs to be monitored to ensure lubricants do not touch bakery foods. Depositor manufacturers suggest bakers pay attention to the drops per minute and double check the measurement with the depositor's requirements. Highvolume bakeries can lubricate depositors with food-safe lubricants.
Depositor manufacturers assert that production downtime hurts a bakery's profitability. To stay flexible and reduce downtime when producing different bakery foods, bakers should, "buy a system that will accommodate the present and the future," one depositor manufacturer says.