Dosing Systems in Hygienic Design Dispense Spreads Automatically and Precisely
Be it in the field of aviation or rail catering, or in daily bakery supplies and in supermarkets with "to-go" products: The demand for convenience food and especially for wraps or sandwiches is high. The production of bread rolls has become a major logistical and, above all, technical challenge. Automation plays an important role.
Cross section of the ViscoTec endless piston model (Image: ViscoTec)
A bottleneck and very time-consuming work stage in the production process is the application of spreads, such as cream cheese or butter, as an ingredient of the sandwiches. This mostly manual step can be automated in many applications to increase efficiency and production capacity.
Challenges in automated processing
The challenge with automation is in the detail:
- When dosing butter, it is important to dose the butter accurately in its spreadable form, i.e. not too hard in consistency, otherwise spreading is not possible and the bread becomes damaged. Even a liquid butter is not the solution - as warming it leads to a change in taste.
- When preparing cream cheese, pieces of the cheese mass are often mixed in. Herbs, garlic or pieces of pepper do not make it easier to automatically dose the spreads and apply them to the rolls or bread slices.
Of course, the visual appearance plays an important role in the food industry. The aim is to build a bridge between functionality and a visually attractive dosing result. Keeping in mind: Production cycle times and costs. ViscoTec Hygienic Dispensers master the challenges of automated dosing: Spreads can be applied precisely and over large areas.
The ViscoTec endless piston principle
By using the proven endless piston technology, pastes can be applied in the perfect consistency as well as with an even thickness. In addition, solid-containing, lumpy materials can be perfectly dosed. As these are neither crushed nor shredded in the ViscoTec dosing pumps. The appearance of the spreads is not affected.
ViscoTec, with its built-in technology, guarantees a dosing accuracy of 99 percent (depending on the material), which in practice is often exceeded. A further benefit of this technology lies in the creation of conveying cavities whose volume remains totally constant during movement. This makes it possible to convey and fill solids-laden material and even lumpy products. This means that even difficult, highly viscous liquids can be dosed reliably and pulsation-free, avoiding incorrect dosing or excessive stress on the material.
Flexible flat nozzles in different sizes
The goal is to apply butter with the best possible consistency - spreadable and at the same time not too liquid - to baked goods in a defined way. The perfect interaction of hygienic dispensers with temperature-controlled, electrical heating components ensures that this requirement is precisely met. This means that in large production lines it is no longer necessary to work without butter as the basis for the baked goods.
By using flexible flat nozzles different spread application widths can be achieved. The nozzles, especially developed by ViscoTec, save cost-intensive production time compared to manual application. In order to process different sizes and types of rolls, sandwiches or baked goods, these flat nozzles are available in different dimensions. They can be changed quickly and hygienically.
Hygienic dispensers equipped with flat nozzles can be easily integrated into production lines. In combination with automated solutions such as robotics, also enable the multi-lane application of butter etc.
Programmable suck-back function for clean working
By a minimal backward rotation of the rotor after dosing, a perfect tearing off of the material can be achieved. No dripping is guaranteed. This means that the process is completely clean, and the system is not contaminated.
A precise and very accurate dosing allows the application thickness to be adjusted easily and flexibly. It is no longer necessary to "overdose" to ensure an application. The high repeatability in dosing ensures minimal waste.
The hygienic design of the system and the dispenser enables a hygienic process configuration according to GMP. The Hygienic Dispenser can either be dismantled without tools within a few minutes and the individual components cleaned manually. Or it can be integrated into an automatic cleaning or sterilisation process as a CIP / SIP variant.
In conclusion, it can be said that the application of solid-containing spreads or high-viscosity butter onto sandwiches or rolls can be perfectly implemented by using the Hygienic Dispenser. This enables an automation of a step that was previously usually carried out manually. And saves time and money.