Modular automation in the bakery
Source: Bakkers in bedrijf
Increase in volume while continuing to offer an assortment of products? Automating processes can provide a solution for the issues facing you as a large traditional bakery. Radilinq automates manual bakery processes. Quality, flexibility and innovation are central to this.
Rademaker has been a leading supplier of bakery machines for more than forty years, with a focus on dough processing. In 2020, the company expanded its portfolio with Radilinq, a product group that specialises in bakery handling systems. Where Rademaker ends, Radilinq begins. “We ensure that the product is properly automated throughout the baking process. This includes trolley loaders, transport systems, proofers, depanners and cooling systems. We build the machines and develop the software,” explains operations manager Joris Bakker. “Radilinq is called on when the manual work in bakery becomes too much, due to an increase in volume or assortment, for example,” adds
managing director Hans van Dijk. “You can only process dough-based products manually up to a certain capacity before you reach the point when automation provides the solution. The whole process can be tackled in one go, but that would mean a major overhaul. It is also possible to start with one component that has a significant impact in the bakery. You can then see whether and how other processes can be tackled at a later stage.”
YOUR OWN PACE
Van Dijk knows that automated work requires a different mindset and philosophy. To ensure success, it is important to train operators and change the way the technical service department works. The great thing is that the Radilinq system is modular, so it is not necessary to do everything at once. By dividing up the process, every bakery is able to automate at its own pace. And this also makes it financially feasible.
Although the modular system makes it easy to automate in stages, Bakker and van Dijk often see a demand for a combination of components. For example, emptying a trolley automatically from the oven in combination with depanning. Or the automation of all operations related to loading products on trays. “Another example is the logistics of trolleys. It is time-consuming and unproductive to have
to transport empty trolleys back and forth. We developed a conveyor belt that can transport empty trolleys from one part of the bakery to another,” explains van Dijk. Bakker: “We not only install a machine that has been ordered, we look at the broader picture and go a few steps further. We look at the entire process together with the baker and find the best solution. And this can involve modifying standard modules if necessary. We build the machine, test it in the factory in Culemborg, install it at the customer’s location and then confirm everything functions properly. We train the technical service engineers and the operators and demonstrate how the machine can be cleaned efficiently.”
Radilinq is a specialist in depanning. Van Dijk: “Removing fragile baked products from the hot carriers is a critical process. A lot of bakers do this manually, but our depanners do it faster and more safely. One of the techniques that is widely employed uses needles. Our machines can be fitted with various sizes of needles, so that even small and delicate products remain intact. Radilinq needle depanners are fully electric, which significantly reduces the likelihood of a malfunction.”
People are becoming more conscious about their lifestyles and this is reflected in what they eat. Van Dijk: “We see that the demand for smaller formats is increasing. So to balance turnover and volume, larger quantities have to be produced. This is only possible through automation. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that bakeries that rely heavily on manual activities in the production process are very vulnerable. But this too can be overcome by automating all or part of the production process.” Van Dijk also points out that many trends are related to the product itself, such as with sourdough products or longer rising times. “These have more to do with shaping the dough than with handling, but it is important for us to follow such trends. As a result of longer rising times, forexample, it may be necessary to adjust the handling process.”
When it comes to sustainability, Radilinq takes its responsibility seriously. Bakker: “Our needle depanner consumes much less energy than a vacuum depanner. In addition, our engines comply with the latest technical developments. We build our machines with intelligent controls, for example. As soon as the sensors register that there is no supply, the machine switches off. Another important point is hygiene. We are seeing a shift towards dry cleaning, a process that requires fewer cleaning agents. This results in savings in costs and time and it is also better for the environment. We take this principle of hygienic design into account when developing our products. You need to see when something is actually clean or dirty and be able to reach everything.”
RADILINQ MODULAR BAKERY SYSTEMS
— Offers industrial and traditional bakeries modular automation solutions aimed at satisfying the wishes of the customer;
— Makes an electrically powered, energy-efficient needle depanner that is suitable for all types of bakery products due to various needle sizes;
— Can take care of the overall project management of an entire production line, even if various suppliers are involved;
— Is an integral part of Rademaker: the interface of Radilinq and a Rademaker dough- processing line is the same, so that the entire line can be operated via a single screen;
— Is available 24/7 for support and malfunctions.