During three decades of steady growth, this Seattle bakery has consistently upgraded equipment at its two facilities to meet increased demand. Recent focus on its packaging operation has provided astounding results.
Schwartz Brothers Bakery is a well-known brand throughout the Pacific Northwest. Founded 33 years ago, the bakery’s customer base includes 500 restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, foodservice operations, schools and military installations. More than 100,000 breads, rolls, cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, croissants and other bakery foods are produced daily at Schwartz Brothers’ 35,000-sq.-ft. Seattle bakery and its 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in Vancouver, Wash.
During the last 15 years, the bakery has upgraded its mixers, depositors, and bread and roll equipment. Packaging, however, remained untouched. Semi-automated and labor intensive, the system featured manual box folding and inefficient shrink-film sealers that were slow and gave off excessive heat. Erratic positioning of trays resulted in significant product damage. The result was a production bottleneck at the end of the line that drastically reduced the effectiveness of previous equipment upgrades.
“Our packaging capacity was not keeping up with the production throughput,” says Rachid Ouardi, logistics and maintenance manager for Schwartz Brothers Bakery. “Due to the variety of pack sizes, quick changeover was critical.”
Schwartz Brothers chose a system by New Richmond, Wis.-based Doboy/Bosch Packaging and Shuttleworth Inc., Huntington, Ind. Excel Packaging, Laguna Hills, Calif., integrated the equipment, which comprised a Doboy Model 7510 tray-former and a Doboy Linium 301 horizontal flow-wrapper. A Shuttleworth SmartFeed infeed system also was chosen. The new line has resulted in a 20 percent increase in packaged units and a 75 percent reduction in product damage.
The tray-former, which was configured to use standardized trays, loads the trays on a conveyor for manual placement of baked products. The rotary-head flow-wrapper can be operated manually or automatically, and features 100-tray-per-minute capability, exceeding the bakery’s current 65-tray-per-minute throughput.
The filled trays move into the SmartFeed. In the event of a wrapper slowdown or stoppage, the SmartFeed system continues to take trays from the line. A low-pressure accumulation buffer identifies production flow irregularities and adjusts to provide gentle product accumulation, thereby minimizing product damage.
“We looked for a line that is fully automatic, easy to operate and maintain, and sanitation friendly,” Ouardi says. “Since we installed the line it has been one of the most dependable lines at the bakery,” he adds.
According to Tom Bohmke, marketing product manager for Doboy, Schwartz Brothers’ needs were addressed in depth during the equipment selection process. “Doboy’s Model 7510 Tray Former and Linium 301 Horizontal Wrapper exceeded specifications in automating the existing labor-intensive lines with on-demand, production-proven machinery,” he says. “Trays are manufactured and wrapped based on the bakery process requirements. Now, due to the improved efficiency through automating of the packaging process, the production employees can dedicate more time to concentrate on product quality,” he adds.