As the economy struggles to regain its footing, volume bakers seek versatile, easy-to-use slicers that won’t break the bank.
As many operators are hesitant to upgrade slicing equipment unless absolutely necessary, manufacturers are focusing on user-friendly machinery that is easy to maintain.
Sandra Ryan, vice president of sales and marketing at Ryan Technology, Hillsboro, Ore., says customers will call for a quote but keep working with existing equipment if they can’t justify the price. “If bakers see business growing, some will try to get by with multiple tabletop shoot slicers instead of upgrading to one of our machines,” she says. “Instead of having 20 people on the shoot slicers, they could have two working the machine and the other 18 doing something else. But there is a line they have to cross to justify the cost of upgrading.”
For Chris Clemens, marketing manager for FoodTools Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif., operators look for cost savings through product versatility. “Our customers want to be able to portion a wider variety of products on the same machine in order to avoid buying separate machines for each product being sliced,” he says. “Our new machine models are focused on creating one platform that can perform several cutting styles. Our inline models are capable of cutting a large volume of product on high-speed conveyors.”
Wellness also has become a top concern among consumers; Ryan has seen this reflected through a move to “thinner” bread products at retail. “Something we have noticed in past years is the move toward thinner products like bagel thins and hamburger bun thins,” she says. “People are more conscious of how many carbs they’re eating, though they’re not going without them completely, as they did with the Atkins craze. I have seen more and more of them in the store.”
The wellness trend also has translated to a demand for smaller portion sizes. Ryan Technology recently modified its Model 793 to accommodate growing demand for small products like slider buns. “They are a more difficult product, just because of the size,” she says. “The way we did it was upgrading to a combination between hand-fed and automated. It took a little training on the customer’s part.”
Luc Imberechts, president of Bakon USA, Torrance, Calif., agrees with the trend toward “smaller product and one-bite items…which probably is driven by a healthier approach to food and a demand for convenience and ‘snackable’ items.” He notes that ultrasonic cutters help meet this demand–the blades’ rapid vibrations reduce pressure on the product, ensuring accurate slicing of harder-to-cut small products.
He forecasts that ultrasonic slicing will remain in high demand in the coming years as bakers look to turn out consistent product quickly. “I believe we will still see an increasing demand for ultrasonic cutting as this technique offers a quality of cut and a speed that one cannot achieve with other technologies,” he says.
Ryan says that ease of use will always rank high with operators, particularly when it comes to altering blade heights on large slicers. “A lot of people on our machines want an easier way of changing blade height,” she says. “But you have to offset that with how much more they are willing to pay for additional automation.”
Meanwhile, Clemens predicts that the coming years will see increased importance placed on safety and sanitation, reflecting improvements in both association and industry standards, he notes. “We manufacture equipment to the safety and sanitation recommendations specified by AIB International, CE and BISSC,” he says. “The developments and advances we are making with our products will reduce labor, risk and the environmental footprint, which will positively affect our customers’ bottom line with a better return on investment.”
BETTER LOAF PORTIONING
The new FoodTools Accusonic-100FS inline ultrasonic machine can slice up to 36 loaves per minute, pending product specifications. With automatic loading and unloading conveyors, this machine can improve the efficiency of a loaf portioning production line by automating the cutting process. The ultrasonic blades can cut a wide range of products at various temperatures, making it a versatile, high-production machine.
877 836 6386
SLICE FRESHLY BAKED ITEMS EASILY
The Krumbein HGS 1/5 DSeries horizontal slicing machine from Erika Record uses a special KR blade system to easily slice freshly baked products into as many as six layers in a single operation. The machine has an adjustable top conveyor to accommodate various sizes and types of product. The slicer’s infeed and top conveyor speeds are synchronized, ensuring consistent, clean slicing. Manufactured exclusively from food-grade materials, the slicer is displaceable by guide pulleys, allowing for flexible employment.
800 682 8203
CLEANER, MORE ACCURATE CUTS
Handle a wide range of bakery products with the PTL ultrasonic guillotine from Franz Haas. The food grade plated titanium blade’s two servo actions ensure accurate timing and cut lengths, and these settings can be adjusted on the interface screen, even during production. A lack of contact between the blade and belt means less mess when handling sticky products. In addition, the machine reduces pressure at the cut point and also creates a gap between each portioned piece of product.
Franz Haas Machinery of America
804 222 6022
COMBINE TASKS, SPEED PRODUCTION
Combine slicing and application with Grote Co.’s slicer/applicator. Tackle bulk slicing, stacking and portion shingling with production speeds of up to 176 strokes per minute per lane. Adjust slice arrangement, count and spacing via touch screen, and even change thickness during production. Multiple lane and head models are available, with the option of a right-hand or left-hand frame. The slicing zone is up to 40 inches wide with a maximum 6-in. slicing stroke.
888 53 GROTE
SLICER, BAGGER IN ONE
AMF Bakery Equipment Solutions offers the Combination Saber/Mark 75 bread slicer/bagger, improving packaging performance and reduc space requirements. By eliminating the transfer plate, the machine provides better control of the product between the slicer and bagger, resulting in increased throughput. The combined controls make operation easy, and the machine’s reduced footprint minimizes required floor space. The slicer’s loaf infeed conveyor allows for automatic feeding. The bagger’s patented pendulum scoop drive makes for smooth scoop operation at all speeds.
AMF Bakery Equipment Solutions
800 BAKERS 1
SLICE RECTANGULAR CAKES IN-TRAY
Bakon USA’s ultrasonic cutting machine for rectangular products is designed to slice cakes baked in a 600-mm by 400-mm baking tray. A conveyor belt moves the trays underneath the ultrasonic slicing blade and into the optimum position. Mounted on a servo-driven bridge, the blade can be positioned in any desired slicing position, allowing for multiple portion sizes. Individual cake portions can be controlled via the unit’s LCD touch screen.
800 TRY BAKON