Slicers increase production, improve sanitation and reduce labor needs.
Slicers are offering increased speeds and more automation. In-line slicers allow operators to reduce manual labor and costs, and change blades without shutting down the line. Sanitation is improved with easier access to the machines for cleaning. Ultrasonic cutters allow bakers to cut delicate baked products quickly and cleanly. Digital control panels give operators more control and allow for faster changeover between products. In a market where flexibility, versatility and high throughput are key, slicers stand up to the challenge. Read on for some of the various slicers available and more advancements in slicing technology.
Bakon has introduced its line of ultrasonic cutting machines to the U.S. market. The machines are available as in-line solutions or stand-alone models. The ultrasonic technology features a titanium blade that oscillates at 20,000 cycles per sec. At such frequency, the friction is nearly zero, creating a clean and accurate cut. The machines combine ultrasonic technology with servo-drives to allow for fast and precise positioning of the blades. The Bakon cutters are equipped with a modem line to allow for remote support and reprogramming.
Bakon USA Food Equipment
Slice pies accurately
FoodTools Inc. offers Model CS-4AAC, an automatic and semi-automatic pie and cake slicer that is ideal for the medium-size bakery that plans to grow. It features dual push button operation for safety; accurate loading divider insert chutes with scaled stops for various-sized divider inserts; an automatic platform feed and return; automatic indexing; a hand crank to adjust for differing product heights; and a divider insert storage tray.
Bread and sandwich slicers
Grote Co. has a variety of slicing solutions for today's baking industry. Grote's band-blade slicers are ideal for slicing bread products, such as baguettes, bagels and French toast. More automated equipment, such as the multi-roll cutter, slices whole roll or sub products lengthwise to adjustable depths and heights. The ultrasonic sandwich and wrap cutters cleanly and automatically slice sandwiches and wraps into two equal halves.
Bagel Slicing Systems
The fastest, most durable bagel slicing system available, LeMatic Bagel Slicing Heads are designed to handle the heavy-duty requirements of bagel bakeries. Three- or four-lane systems can be equipped with two slicing heads to provide continuous production on one slicing line. By alternating heads, regular service of the slicer and blades can be performed without interrupting production. Flip-down guides are available to run bagels and bagelettes on the same slicing line.
Reduced labor costs
Take advantage of reduced labor and maintenance costs with a slicer from Ryan. Ryan offers an in-line slicer with a “blade-change-on-the-fly” feature that allows operators to clean the blade without shutting down the line. The feature is available on all 890 series models. Ryan's slicers are versatile, highly adjustable and capable of slicing at speeds up to 500 pieces per min.
Ryan Technology Inc.
Erika Record offers a fully automatic slicer, the ideal machine for small to medium wholesale bakeries that need to slice 3,000 to 10,000 loaves per day. The loaves are held by top and bottom belts. Simply place the bread on the conveyor; the machine does the rest.
Erika Record LLC
Bread slicerAMF Bakery Systems offers bread band slicers that provide superior slice quality. The AMF Saber 75 Bread Band Slicer provides quality slicing, ease of operation, and reduced maintenance and sanitation costs. Features include open design for easy access to all sanitation and maintenance points; heavy duty, pull-out lattice assembly to assure the highest quality slice over a long machine life and easy access for lattice maintenance and sanitation; cantilever drum design for easy blade removal and installation; electronic synchronization between the Saber 75 Slicer and the bread bagger that eliminates high maintenance chain and shaft drives; operator interface controls for easy product set-up and machine monitoring. AMF also offers the Saber 75 in a “wide model” for a broader slicing thickness range for specialty products like Texas toast. AMF has just introduced a new slicer, the Saber 60 Band Slicer, designed for lines with a maximum speed requirement of 60 loaves or less per minute.
Slicer advancesFrom bread slicers to ultrasonic cutters, slicing machines offer increased automation and more versatility, giving operators the ability to switch from one product to another quickly and easily. Advancements in hands-off automation are allowing for in-line systems that eliminate the need for manual labor.
An in-line slicing system accepts baked products automatically, does the portioning and sends the product off to the packaging or freezing line, says Ryan Lantieri, project management, FoodTools Inc., South Haven, Mich.
High speed applications also are in demand. “Speed and accuracy are becoming more efficient every year. Everybody wants to get the highest quality cuts and the most production out of the lowest cost machine you can develop,” Lantieri adds.
European markets already are big users of ultrasonic cutters for delicate baked products. In the United States, more bakers are opting for ultrasonic cutters as the demand for smaller items and single portions grows.
“Ultrasonic cutting is used to increase cut quality and it allows bakers to streamline their processes, so they don't have to wait for freeze time,” Lantieri says. “This is especially true for in-line applications where bakers don't have the luxury of time to freeze their product to a point where it can be cut mechanically, so ultrasonic becomes a good option for them.”
On an ultrasonic cutter, the blades vibrate at about 20,000 vibrations per second, a speed so fast you can't see the blade vibrate. Ultrasonic blades are made of high quality metal, such as titanium, which is able to withstand such vibrations. Instead of putting a physical pressure on the product, as with a knife, the vibrating blade slices the product evenly and gently. “You are able to cut products that are very fragile, such as fresh mousse cake or fresh fruit, without destroying them,” says Luc Imberechts, president, Bakon USA, Los Angeles.
Ultrasonic technology also allows bakers to work much faster than in the past. Cutters can combine several blades that work at the same time and in different directions. Operators can automatically turn blades in the desired direction to cut trays of product at high speeds.
Today's slicer designs accommodate the high speed production environment and sanitation requirements of the food industry. Slicer manufacturers are creating machines with easier access for cleaning. Automatic cleaning systems complete with scrapers can be preprogrammed in the machine, Imberechts says. Control panels with LCD allow operators to easily access different menus and change the type of product or cutting configuration on the fly, he adds. For example, when switching from brownies to loaf cake, the operator need only select loaf cake from the menu and the machine will know the proper knife configuration, making for easy changeover from one product to another.
Especially in the European market, high tech slicers are becoming more accessible to smaller clients. Stripped down versions of the more expensive machines are making them more affordable, so smaller bakeries can afford top-of-the line technology.