From whole grain breads to gluten-free cakes, today’s mixers must handle it all without hurting the bottom line.
While mixers historically have had a fairly straightforward role in bakeries, operators are asking more of them than ever before in response to ongoing consumer demand for high-quality and specialized baked products. Manufacturers have their work cut out for them in delivering affordable, easy-to-maintain equipment that satifies production demands.
“Specialty items made from superior-quality dough such as artisan breads and scratch-baked foods continue to gain in popularity among customers in foodservice and grocery operations,” says Brian Kadel, general manager of mixing for ITW Food Machines (Hobart), Glenview, Ill. The popularity of specialized products with varied moisture contents ranging from gluten-free to high gluten to whole grain continue to present a unique challenge for mixer manufacturers. Still, operators’ top concerns remain straightforward: durable, reliable and easy-to-operate equipment that delivers high-quality mix consistency and offers safe and secure access for cleaning, he adds.
“Certainly on the industrial side, there is more movement toward multigrain or whole wheat,” says Jim Souza, vice president and director of industrial sales for Kemper Bakery Systems, North American subsidiary of WP Bakery Group, Shelton, Conn. He notes that this is not a new trend–going back at least a decade–and says that Kemper is well suited to meet these demands as a European-based equipment manufacturer. “The whole grain and rye breads have long been the staple in Europe. We’ve always had the equipment and it’s our standard, which can now accommodate the American markets, including those looking for increasing volume.”
However, Souza adds, “I think for the United States market, it is still going to be as it has been, which is the bigger, faster machines always win out. And depending on who the end customer is, for some markets it is just a question of the bottom line. What does the bowl cost? How do I get more dough out to produce faster with less labor?”
Steve Knauth, marketing manager of Munson Machinery, Utica, N.Y., says a common issue among high-volume operators is they purchase agitated blenders instead of rotary mixers, which can cause them headaches later on.
“While low-cost, all-purpose agitated mixers may be a good choice for some smaller baking operations, they generally are not when free-flowing bulk ingredients are being mixed in high volumes,” Knauth says. “Rotary mixers are more effective when handling free-flowing materials such as flour, whole grains, sugar and leavening agents in terms of complete discharge, gentleness, low maintenance, low energy consumption, rapid blending and sanitizing, uniform blending and uniform liquid additions.” He adds that agitated mixers tend to reclaim the initial savings through higher operating expenses on maintenance, labor and energy.
Also, operators face mounting energy costs amid a slew of new legislation pertaining to energy efficiency.
Kadel says that this factored heavily into the recently launched Hobart Legacy Series. “The Legacy mixer product line encompasses new drive technology that uses less energy and provides the performance that customers expect,” he says. “Testing of the new Legacy Series versus the classic Hobart mixer demonstrated energy saving up to 30 percent due to the new drive technology.”
Souza says that the sheer simplicity of mixing equipment helps control energy output and keeps cost down. “Mixers are kind of basic machines with only one or two motors, so we implemented high-efficiency motors,” he says, adding that a little attention on the part of operators helps, too. “Electronic controls allow you to control the speed of the motors’ mixing to an end result so you can dial in an optimum.”
The new THM-OT heavy-duty horizontal mixer from Topos Mondial is a 100 percent stainless steel model with a high-efficiency, two-speed main drive motor. Its sanitary design allows for fast and easy cleaning, giving full access to all interior and exterior surfaces. A lack of gearbox and chains makes it low maintenance and operator friendly. The mixer is available in nominal sizes 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16.
Topos Mondial Corp.
BLEND BULK INGREDIENTS
Munson Machinery’s Miniature Rotary Batch Mixer blends bulk ingredients, adds liquids and achieves 100 percent batch uniformity in less than 3 minutes. The e MX-1- SSJ model features an internal spray line for liquid additions, a discharge chute to direct the flow of discharged materials and an insulated, jacketed mixing drum that can be piped to an oil, steam or chiller system.
Munson Machinery Co. Inc.
HIGH DOUGH QUALITY AT HIGH CAPACITY
The Titan Double Tool mixer is constructed with Kemper’s three-zone mixing principle with spiral and guide bar for light, easy-to-process doughs with a minimal increase in temperature. The mixer, which supports up to 240 kg of dough, comes with an adjustable drive for flexibility. Short batch cycle times ensure consistency. Doughs are reproducible through Titan’s touch panel program control. Water spray protection option allows for easy cleaning, and the monitoring system lets operators oversee all operation parameters to ensure high production security.
Kemper Bakery Systems, a subsidiary of WP Bakery Group
REDUCE MAINTENANCE, INCREASE SANITATION
The open frame triple roller bar mixer from Bundy Baking Solution’s Shaffer Manufacturing is ideal for breads, rolls, buns, sweetgoods and frozen doughs. The mixer features an open frame design, which provides easy access for sanitation and routine maintenance. A direct drive to the agitator shaft eliminates belts and chains, reducing the number of required maintenance and lubrication points, as well as transmission noise and vibration. It offers a dual-speed or variable-frequency drive motor for agitator operation, and a unique super bowl design for shorter mix times, faster dough development and cooler doughs. Other features include UHMW quick-change bowl seals; heavy-duty, stainless steel refrigeration; jacket and bowl end cooling; hydraulic bowl tilt system up to 120° with dual cylinders; pneumatic flour gate, liquid inlets and flour dust vent in canopy; and touch screen operator interface with PLC controls.
A MIXER BUILT TO LAST
Oshikiri mixers are designed to be tough, from their heavy-duty bases and frames, to their simple, ruggedly designed drive systems. Available in vertical and horizontal (pictured) models for everything from fine-textured batters to stiff, rich-in-volume doughs, Oshikiri mixers deliver excellent product with the shortest possible mixing times, according to the company. Mixers range in size from 50 lb. to 3,000 lb., along with bowl tilts from 95° to 140°, which ensures they meet meet specific dough requirements. Every product is ISO-certified for quality management and assurance.