The baking industry’s never-ending quest to increase capacities has taken a toll on production equipment. Higher outputs stress motors and gears, causing premature breakdowns and increased maintenance time.
Over-stressed equipment especially has plagued cake donut manufacturers. The popularity of mini-donuts has motivated bakers to increase capacities by installing larger fryers. Unfortunately, older depositors have a tough times coping with increased demands, mainly because they are driven with clutch-and-gear mechanisms to synchronize the up-and-down motions of the plungers. The repeated stop-start motions of the plunger cutter heads creates substantial stress on the clutches and gears.
Bob Johnson, chief engineer of Interstate Brands’ Seattle Division, saw the stress caused on the bakery’s machines firsthand. "The old depositor started and stopped every cut, so if we did 30 cuts per minute, the machine would stop and start 30 times," Johnson says.
Interstate Brands updated its depositor with a new system with closed loop servo motor controls and a dual axis motion control system.
"The new machine is continuous, so if it is started and ran for an hour and a half, it only started and stopped one time," Johnson says. "The wear and tear on the machine is miniscule."
This system offers countless benefits to high-volume donut bakeries, including:
- Continuous motion rather than a single-revolution deposit cycle, which reduces stress on drive gears, couplings, cams, trip arms and plungers. Wear on cutter heads also is reduced because there is no clutch box. This benefit may double the lifespan of cutter heads and related mechanical parts, the system’s manufacturer says.
- Control and ease-of-use are exhibited in the depositor’s ability to easily adjust and synchronize with the fryer, resulting in precise weight control. The depositor places donuts directly into the fryer, where flight bars transport the donuts through the fryer in orderly rows.
- Flexibility for reconfiguration. The multi-space depositor’s allows reconfiguration of the unit for 10, 15 and 20 deposits per cycle. This allows bakers to manufacture large, medium and mini donuts on the same line.
- Fast speeds. The depositor increases cycle rates to 100 cuts per minute. This cycle rate is substantially higher than traditional cake donut depositors.
Problem Solver Quick Tip
One manufacturer’s depositor uses continuous motion rather than a single-revolution deposit cycle, which reduces stress on drive gears, couplings, cams, trip arms and plungers. The depositor also increases cycle rates to 100 cuts per minute compared to traditional depositors, which have traditional cycle rates of 62 cuts per minute.