Sweeping national lockdowns over the last two years have induced many bakeries to abruptly pivot while some have even shifted their approaches to the food production business completely.
Many bakers started producing new products as others made significant changes to their manufacturing process to reduce costs. Just now entering the third year of the global health crisis, how can bakeries adapt to ensure long-term success?
Local mandates and restrictions coupled with the current labor shortages have been ravishing the bakery sector since the pandemic outbreak in the early months of 2020. This new regulatory environment (i.e., “the new normal) presents several challenges that simply can’t be ignored.
How can bakeries thrive despite the onslaught of new obstacles brought about by the pandemic?
Baking facilities are increasingly turning to automated manufacturing solutions to revitalize their operations. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, are drawn to the efficient and cost-effective production processes provided by automated technology. And bakers, always concerned with maintaining a sanitary operation, have discovered automation to enhance their hygiene solutions, as well.
Automated manufacturing technology solutions for the baking sector offer more than large, high-speed production lines that rely upon a complex system of robotics with little human participation. While these facilities undoubtedly exist and have been around for quite some time, it accounts for only one means by which bakeries begin the journey into an automated model. Most small to medium-sized bakers aim to grow, and automation provides countless opportunities to advance that goal.
Smaller operations typically start automating by acquiring a single machine or a basic interlinking system of machines to take over repetitive motion tasks and speed them up. When operators are relieved of these basic undertakings, they can be deployed to other areas of the facility.
Moreover, this approach to automating almost always leads to immediate cost savings because you’re reducing the possibility for the human injury commonly associated roles that require long hours of repetitive motion. At the same time, you are increasing productivity at your facility which ultimately frees up your labor budget to the point where you will begin realizing substantial savings.
Automated solutions are implementable at any stage of production
With so many automation options available, small bakeries quickly realize they can save big by making just a few key changes to their process. An array of new equipment continues to emerge onto the market, and the machinery is diverse as the goods it can produce.
Specifically, many small businesses elect to automate the reversible dough sheeter as their foray into mechanizing their bakeries. In so doing, they eliminate the arduous task of manually creating a pastry or dough sheet. Some baked goods require deft and soft handling of the dough that most bakers believe only a human touch can achieve.
But modern dough sheeters are engineered to manipulate the dough gently to produce a high-quality product. Introducing an automated dough sheeter to your baking facility is assured to increase efficiency. Moreover, it accounts for an obsolescence-proof upgrade that you can depend on using for years to come.
Creating staple food products by hand, such as hotdog rolls, can be an unusually tedious procedure. Bakers must produce the sheet dough manually, which takes time, but they’re also responsible for sustaining product consistency by hand. This process requires the operator to measure, fill, fold, and crimp the food product in such a way that one item doesn’t present differently from the other.
There’s no baker in existence that could keep pace with the automated machinery that achieves the same objective and with even better accuracy. At best, a baker might manually produce roughly 500 products per hour from a ready-made dough sheet. Conversely, you can expect a side-seal automated procedure to handle four hotdog rolls in a row and yield nearly 25,000 units per hour.
Automating conserves space and saves money
Real estate isn’t cheap, and that’s especially true of the average food production manufacturing facility, where it always runs at a high premium. Introducing compact equipment to your production facility produces a considerably less cluttered with improved safety.
These tools, furthermore, allow bakers to produce a variety of products and are not restricted to just one food item. The equipment is multifunctional, allowing facilities to create a plethora of food products. The machines cut, fold, coil, fold, punch and can accomplish nearly all of the same tasks that were once attributable to manual procedures only.
Among the most common bakery goods are coiled and folded D-shape items. Cinnamon swirls are easily achieved on an automated production line, with precise motion producing virtually identical results at every pass. Product changeovers are simple as well, requiring no tools or special refitting.
Most small bakeries aim to stand out by producing original-looking products that jump out at consumers as they rest invitingly on supermarket shelves. To accomplish this, bakers rely upon sheet dough that is consistently uniform in width and depth so they can create a precise product while maximizing yield.
Large food manufacturing plants have been using automation to increase capacity for years. Small and medium-sized facilities are just now realizing how many new and affordable automation tools are presently at their disposal. The task of automating your bakery is no longer about amping up your facility to produce ten tons of the same product every hour only. You can still maintain both the soft structure of your dough and the boutique image of your brand.
If you are murmuring yourself, “there aren’t industrial automation companies near me.” Think again. EzSoft, located in the Mid Atlantic region, just outside of Philadelphia, can provide several turnkey automated solution options for your food production facility.
Contact EzSoft today at (484) 568-5040 to learn more about out how their industrial automation solutions can revitalize your baking facility to ensure lasting success over many years to come.