In today's thrifty climate, oven manufacturers and suppliers are stressing the importance of education and careful consideration during an upgrade.
The basic process of bread baking has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. So how much could ovens have changed in a few decades? According to oven manufacturers and suppliers, plenty’s changed.
“Many of the existing ovens are 25 to 30 or more years old, and the baking requirements of those ovens have changed since they were originally purchased,” explains Joe Day, C.E.O. of Banner-Day, Saginaw, Mich. “Today, the basic structure of those ovens is still sound, but with the changes in customer demands for variety and quality of products, oven-performance needs have changed.”
But a brand-new oven isn’t always the answer. “Buying a new oven doesn’t necessarily mean that it will yield a better return on investment than the old one,” explains Patricia Kennedy, president, Kemper Bakery Systems, USA subsidiary of the WP Bakery Group, Shelton, Conn. “However, if the new oven is more fuel efficient, bakes more evenly and in turn reduces labor because the products do not need to be rotated and can be loaded more efficiently, then there will certainly be a good ROI.”
“There are great opportunities to upgrade existing ovens with new controls and technology to improve their performance to the baking requirements of today while making them meet the current OSHA and NFPA code safety requirements,” agrees Mike Day, president of Banner-Day. “A baker may be able to accomplish this for 60 to 70 percent of the price of a new oven.”
For those leaning toward the new-oven route, Jim Diver, vice president of operations, Dunbar Systems, Lemont, Ill., says to consider three areas before committing to a purchase: the project cost, the integration of the system and the cost of ownership. Failing to examine these aspects could lead to an increase in building costs, labor requirements and maintenance. Bakeries also need to consider the flexibility of a new oven, especially as consumers pursue more healthful options and diet niches like gluten-free grow in popularity.
“Customers still want longevity from their ovens, but they also demand that the new ovens allow for maximum flexibility in baking,” Diver says. “This allows the customer to bake their known products today and change to a totally new product tomorrow, allowing for growth, expansion and change for the company.”
Joe Day agrees. “Without question, bakers are baking a broader and greater variety of products for their customers,” he says. “This has forced ovens to become much more flexible and nimble. The oven of yesterday was designed to bake typically one product, white bread. Today, you go to the store and there’s perhaps 20 to 30 different varieties of bread to buy.”
With so many details to keep in mind, it’s no wonder bakeries sometimes overlook a factor or two when considering an oven upgrade. But one of the most disregarded facets can end up costing bakeries the most.
“Energy consumption is the most overlooked aspect of an oven,” Kennedy says. “Many customers will look at price not understanding they will be spending more money on running an oven in the long run.”
Bakeries that invest in an energy-efficient model will find rewards not just in the utility savings but also when it comes to their reputation among consumers. “There’s no question that operating efficiency is important to people today,” Mike Day says. “Customers are demanding that the products they buy are green. Everybody would like to paint themselves green, since customers are finding ways to hold companies accountable. We’re a great believer in what are the environmental consequences of baking a loaf of bread.”
Diver agrees. “We believe that over the next decade, any company that exhibits green credentials, such as energy conservation or alternative energies, will be viewed positively by consumers.”
The Matador multi-deck baking oven is suitable for baking bread, tin loaves, rolls and fine pastry. Its gas flow is controlled via the Zyklotherm® heating system, which ensures absolute even heat distribution, even in the front of the oven. A dimensionally stable heat register allows baking at maximum temperatures in order to produce strong-crust products. Standard features include a stone baking plate, stainless steel baking chamber doors and the Navigo control system.
Kemper Bakery Systems, a subsidiary of WP Bakery Group
203 929 6530
An Auto-Bake/Dunbar oven system is designed to handle more than just baking. The system pictured features an Auto-Bake/Dunbar DGF Super Flex oven, a paper cup denester, a batter depositor, an atmospheric cooler and a system discharge with a robotic depanner. The oven burners are mounted behind the stainless steel covers located after the batter depositor, with heat-recirculation blowers mounted on the top of the oven.
Dunbar Systems Inc.
630 257 2900
The PU Integral from Koenig is an automatic plate-circulating oven with an integrated pre-bake zone. It features three space-saving climatization areas– the steam zone, the pre-bake zone and the final bake zone–and produces optimum baking results using a combination of hot baking plates, heat radiation and hot air.
Koenig Technology Inc.
804 377 9620
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The Vesta indirect-fired tunnel oven from AMF is part of its new Vesta series. Its precision high-saturation steam system ensures a high-quality, even bake, and it is available with one, two or three burner towers. Its main drive features quadruple reduction gears, pneumo-hydraulic tensioning, triplex chains and double-drive rollers to tackle heavy loads. Its belt tracking system provides precise tracking with U.S. linear actuators and prevents contact with the sides of the oven while eliminating belt skewing.
AMF BAKERY SYSTEMS
800 BAKERS 1
The Henry Group’s indirect gas-fired TurboTerm tunnel oven is extremely versatile and energy efficient. The design of the air turbulence system in the bake chamber allows the oven to operate at lower temperatures and provide faster bake times. An integrated catalytic oxidizer uses the latent heat energy of the ethanol oxidation process to improve baking efficiency for a typical fuel reduction of 13 percent to 20 percent.
The Henry Group Inc.
800 356 7591
Gemini provides a large selection of rack, deck, tray and convection ovens. The company offers project services from conceptual engineering design through project management and startup of semi- and fully automated installations.
Gemini Bakery Equipment Co.
215 673 3520
Sottoriva’s thermal cycle ovens are available with three or four stacked decks, and each deck has its own control for the oven’s automatic steam generators. The ovens feature a refractory cement sole and metallic net frame for optimum insulation, which drives down fuel consumption.
Sottoriva America Inc.
704 841 9546