The uptake in automation in the bakery industry has recently expanded. More bakery businesses have started to see the technology as a cost-saving solution that increases their operational efficiency. The decision to automate isn’t one to take lightly, however, and many bakeries struggle to determine the appropriate automation levels for their own unique applications.
The bakery industry, depending on your positioning, can be fiercely competitive, with many businesses vying to meet the demands and needs of the same customers. Automation gives businesses in need of a greater competitive edge an extra tool in their arsenal. The latest bakery automation equipment designs help you reduce your operational costs and improve efficiency.
However, it is important to determine which automation level is right for your unique applications. Semi-automated systems can offer lower initial investment than fully-automated systems. They may not, however, provide the same level of efficiency and cost savings. Fully automated systems, on the other hand, can be more expensive upfront but may provide a better return on investment in the long run.
In the sections below, we’ll touch on the benefits and drawbacks of both automation levels before providing more insight into how to determine which automation level is best for your bakery. We’ll also explore the pros and cons of semi-automated and fully automated solutions and provide insight into which level of automation is right for your bakery.
Deciding when to automate
The introduction of automation into industrial bakeries offers a diverse range of advantages, with increased production efficiency, improved quality control, and reduced labor costs principal among them. However, the investment in automation can be significant, so it is important for bakery owners and managers to assess when the benefits of automation outweigh the costs.
The decision to automate an industrial bakery is often complex, and there are several important factors that businesses should be taken into account. To begin with, the size and scale of the bakery is always a consideration.
If your bakery has expanded to a point where you’re already running multiple production lines, then the potential benefits of automation are rife. You’re in a much more advantageous position to reduce your workforce overhead while boosting both your production throughput and efficiency.
The complexity of the production processes should be taken into account, as well. If your bakery produces a variety of products, then automation may be beneficial due to the increased accuracy and repeatability offered by automated systems. Finally, the availability of capital to invest in automation must be considered, too, since every level of automation requires a significant financial investment.
Introducing automation to your industrial bakery offer several advantages with mentioning, and we’ll get to those in more detail later. Generally speaking, though, if your operations have expanded to a phase where you need to start reducing operational complexity, you’re likely well-position to reduce labor costs and increase your throughput after automating.
Semi-automated vs fully automated bakeries: how do they compare?
The two types of bakeries differ primarily in the degree of automation and technological sophistication present in their two distinct production processes. Semi-automated bakeries use a combination of human labor and machine-aided technology to produce baked goods. In contrast, fully-automated bakeries rely heavily on robots and other automated machinery to handle most of the production process.
The chief benefit of semi-automated bakeries is the potential cost savings. These bakeries require less machinery than fully-automated bakeries, and they can usually deploy existing labor resources to reduce overall operating costs.
Semi-automated bakeries, in comparison, offer more flexibility to adjust production levels according to the demand. This makes it a useful solution for bakeries that need to quickly scale their operations.
The advantages of fully-automated bakeries, in comparison, are discoverable in their potential improved operational efficiency without adding additional human resources. Bakery automation equipment, likewise, produces goods at rates much faster than humans and with more precision.
The result is a consistently higher quality product, which, owing to the automated processes, can significantly reduce or eliminate your various labor costs and overhead expenses. Fully-automated bakeries require minimal human involvement, allowing bakeries to focus their resources on other critical areas of their business.
Choosing between a semi-automated and fully automated solution
Choosing when to automate your bakery is hardly an easy decision alone, not to mention the process of establishing which level of automation you need. The first critical factor to consider when deciding between partially-automated and fully automated solutions is the scale of your existing operation.
For example, if you’re currently running a large-scale operation, then you will likely realize several cost and efficiency benefits after automating. These modern manufacturing execution systems can provide precise measurements and consistent results, resulting in reliable and consistent output.
A fully automated system, moreover, is an effective tool for reducing your overall expenditures, since you’ll require fewer workers are required to manage your processes.
A partially-automated solution may be more cost-effective for smaller operations, however. A partially automated system requires less capital investment compared to fully-automated systems, and is generally more customizable, making it an ideal solution for growing bakeries.
The adaptability and scalability of a semi-automated solution let bakeries tailor the system to their specific applications. At the same time, they still benefit from many of the same advantages a fully-automated solution brings.
Upon deciding between a partially-automated and fully-automated industrial bakery solution, businesses should consider the scale of their operation. Smaller operations may benefit more from a partially-automated system, while larger operations may need a fully-automated system to achieve the desired results. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, and the decision should be based on their unique business applications.
Where can I find industrial automation companies near me?
EZSoft, a leading provider of information and control systems for the process industries located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, offers customized automation solutions that meet the complex needs of customers complex needs in the food and beverage sector and the specialty chemical industry.
To connect with one of our bakery automation experts, fill out our contact form or call us not at (484) 568-5040.