Biscuit Manufacturing Process & Packaging
Baking the better biscuit – Biscuit production facilities are filled with the divine aromas of these popular treats.
Biscuits are synonymous with the warmth of home, mum and a hot cup of tea or coffee. Biscuits relate to comfort and family sharing, and serve as a pick-me-upper or a bite-size treat. They also prove pretty useful to tie you over when having skipped that meal.
The word ‘biscuit’ was originally derived from the Latin panis biscoctus meaning twice-cooked bread whereby dough pieces are baked and then dried out in a second, cooler, oven. Historically biscuits can be traced back as far as the early Middle Ages when they were served as a long-life type of bread to sea faring mariners, called ships biscuits. Another early mention includes ancient Roman armies receiving biscuits as part of their rations.
Early recipes were continually adapted and biscuits evolved to the extent that today biscuits can range from snacks and luxury gifts to staple-, dietary- and infant foods. With the addition of chocolate and cream they even borderline with confectionary.
The most significant constant over time has been addressing packaging and storage issues. Biscuits require a moisture free environment to reduce spoilage and improve transport and storage abilities.
Current packaging methods seem far removed from a time when biscuits were kept in paper bags, later evolving to the moisture free environs of the highly popular decorative biscuit tin – proudly displayed on shelf or the dining room table. Centuries past saw silverware makers fashion silver-plated holders and lids for glass or pottery biscuit jars, effectively developing packaging trends for the rest of the food industry.
Consumer demand for quality food has always driven packaging innovation. Modern packaging is designed to keep products fresh, maximize shelf-life and reduce loss due to spoilage. Add on a multi-million advertising industry and some clever thinking, and a simple biscuit package can become the centre of attraction on-shelf. It not only communicates product information, but also entices customers into selecting the product for purchase.
Today forward thinking companies are focused on finding ways how to get packaging systems that can get these neat new packages into the market faster, and do it more cost effectively.
Of further interest to the pack is the introduction of a new material construction which allows for increased line speed with no compromise on seal integrity. This was achieved by the use of low melting point Polypropylene film specially imported for this purpose. An initiative that delivered on expectation and will now be used across their entire flexible range.
ULMA Packaging –
ULMA Packaging has been offering packing machines in the biscuits industry for more than 50 years, predominantly focused on medium to high production manufacturers.
ULMA offers several different packaging system solutions, including Flow packing and Vertical-Fill-Form-Seal (VFFS). Primary and secondary packaging systems are combined with fully automatic loading systems to offer complete packaging solutions.
Don’t hesitate to turn to Autopac, a manufacturer and supplier of VFFS and snack food processing machinery that packs more than three decades experience in packaging solutions supply. It provides backup parts and service to more than 22 countries, including South Africa.
Long term research and development has resulted in a simplicity and reliability that make its machines easy to use and maintain.
Small, medium and large VFFS machine models are available and can be fitted with a number of types of product filler options. Optional ‘change parts’ can increase machine flexibility. Select from individual machines or complete lines.
Although decent packaging is paramount to product success, it would literally mean nothing without the manufacture of a good quality product to put inside the packaging.
Manufacturing Equipment and Ovens
The basic Biscuit manufacturing process requires ingredient mixing, forming and depositing before proceeding to baking, cooling and packaging. Varied manufacturing operations call for diverse solutions differing in type and automation level, but generally employs mixers, moulders/cutters, a baking oven, cooling conveyors and end-of-line packaging equipment.
A number of solution providers exist locally calling for careful consideration prior to purchase.
Local specialists in travel ovens and bakery automation MBake, manufacture biscuit ovens ranging from 24 to 48 metres in length and from 800mm to 1200mm in width. The company has supplied ovens to many of the country’s larger biscuit manufacturers.
The make-up lines, comprising mixers, rotary moulders, rotary cutters, laminators, cooling conveyors, sandwiching machines and packaging machines are all imported.
The solutions MBAKE offers are cost effective and perfect for African conditions, care has been taken to avoid unnecessary complications in design thus offering ease of operation.
From simple wire-cut biscuits to creamed and laminated biscuits such as Marie and Cream Crackers, MBake have solution across the board.
Bishops Bakery & Catering Equipment (BBC) –
Also committing to the best service is Bishops Bakery & Catering Equipment (BBC), leading importers and suppliers of bakery equipment and industrial kitchen utensils. Visit its workshop in Bramley, Johannesburg, to see live product demonstrations and test its range of bakery equipment.
Texmate Bakery Solutions –
Enter Texmate Bakery Solutions – Johannesburg-based representatives of the Markel Bakery Group comprising AMF Bakery Systems (for high speed bakery equipment), Tromp Bakery Equipment who manufacture a full range of sheeting and depositor systems for the manufacture of Viennese and wire cut type biscuits.
In addition to this, Texmate Bakery Solutions also supply through their principals, Sancassiano dough mixing systems and Tanis Food Tec supply aeration and tempering equipment for the biscuit and confectionery sectors.
Conveyors play an important role in biscuit manufacturing and packaging. Biscuit handling systems comprise a range of unit machines and conveyors. Before packaging, biscuits are cooled to near-ambient temperature. This is normally accomplished by a series of conveyors.
Looking for a specialist on the conveyor front? There are a number of conveyor specialists to choose from in South Africa.
Conveyor Specialists –
Belting Edge – Belting Edge fabricate and supply conveyor belting, transmission belting, plastic modular belting, timing belting as well as belt fasteners and related tools. We also do on-site hot and cold splicing, pulley lagging and general splicing solutions. We are primarily based in the Western Cape region of South Africa but do enjoy a local client base right around the country as well as a growing international clientele’.
We sell specialised belting and associated products to the following Industries –
• Corrugated board
• Can manufacturing and filling
• Bakery and milling
• Printing pulp and converting
• Ceramic tile and brick
• Fruit packing
• Poultry, meat and food
• Textile Industries
Chiorino – Your partner for SAFE & HYGIENIC food processing. Chiorino HP® – Best performing belts for Bakery and Confectionery
Chiorino is a worldwide leader in the production of conveyor and process belts, transmission belts and rubber aprons. Chiorino conveyor and transmission belts provide excellent handling solutions for all industrial sectors.
Chiorino offer includes conveyor belts for sheeters, rotary cutters, rotary moulders, gauge rolls, oven infeed and outfeed, cooling conveyors etc.
Chiorino South Africa has been the sole supplier into Africa of Chiorino conveyor and transmission belting since 1983. It is headquartered in Gauteng and has branches in Cape Town and Durban, which serve the paper, printing, packaging and food processing industries.
Chiorino manufactures conveyor and process belts that fully comply with the latest European and international food regulations. These products are particularly recommended for HACCP systems.
Conveyco – Conveyco designs and manufactures various easy to clean and sanitary conveyor systems. From chain conveyors to complex modular belt conveyors. Most our food conveyors are made of stainless steel. These conveyors have to meet the highest sanitary quality.
We are fully independent manufacturer and are able to fabricate our conveyors to the exact needs of the client.
Our experienced staff stands ready to give you the help you need, from systems design and product specification to order placement. Our team takes pride in producing custom quality products.
Conveyco designs, manufacture and installs all equipment. We also do maintenance and servicing of equipment and have permanent teams in Cape Town, Durban & Johannesburg.
Interroll – Interroll offers key solutions for units handling in specific industries such as Food & beverage, Warehousing & Distribution, E-commerce & Retail and Industrial Manufacturing Logistics.
Our unique products for the food industry are fully compliant with all major hygiene requirements and regulations. From conveying goods to sorting and storing, Interroll has the right answer when it comes to the needs of the food sector.
What’s more, thanks to their superior reliability and accuracy, Interroll products will help you grow your business by reducing costs and increasing productivity at the same time.
Interroll offers outstanding solutions for logistics thanks to dedicated core technologies and products for food processing. But Food Industry does not only mean food processing! There’s a whole lot of food related applications that still require compliance with hygienic standards but put more emphasis on things like high throughput, global availability and low maintenance.
IPCO is the world’s largest – and oldest – manufacturer of steel bake oven belts, supplying OEMs and end users around the world.
WORLD LEADERS IN SOLID AND PERFORATED STEEL BAKE OVEN BELTS
The company offers a range of steel grades to suit different needs and environments. IPCO 1100C grade is a carbon steel product that is used extensively by the bakery industry, while IPCO 1200SA is a stainless steel grade suitable for applications such as food conveying, cooling, freezing and drying. Both are available either in solid form or perforated.
In terms of supply, IPCO can provide as much – or as little – input as an oven builder needs. This can be as straightforward as the supply of the belt, though various levels of technical advice or consultancy to ensure that the belt delivers maximum return on investment, to the supply of key conveyor components that ensure smooth running, such as tracking systems and graphite stations.
Local service expertise
The company has a fully trained and equipped service team based in Johannesburg. As well as ensuring a quick response to any service needs, this means that work is carried out by qualified people with an understanding of customers’ needs and values.
As part of a global business, IPCO’s African service team can also call on the support of the company’s Special Engineering team if required, experts who can be sent anywhere in the world to provide specialist support.
Wide belts for enhanced productivity
IPCO can produce bake oven belts up to 3500 mm wide, making it possible to build wider ovens and increase productivity without having to invest in factory extensions. An oven with a 1500 mm wide belt offers almost twice the productivity of one with an 800 mm belt without any increase in the line length. An oven with a 3200 mm belt or larger can increase output by a factor of four.
Reducing carbon footprint through energy efficiency
Bake ovens can account for as much as 45% of a bakery’s overall energy consumption and as much of 25% of this is used heating the conveyor belt. The bake oven belt therefore has a significant impact on energy costs so ensuring maximum efficiency is important.
A solid steel bake oven belt weighs 30% less than a comparable mesh belt so costs up to 30% less to heat. And perforated belts weigh as much as 35% less again. As well as cutting heating costs, this weight advantage also means less energy is needed to drive the belt through the oven.
Steel belts are also significantly easier to clean being flat and smooth. This not only delivers savings in water and detergent but also means greater overall productivity, with time spent baking instead of cleaning.
Jadec – We have 28 years of experience in the design and manufacture of conveyors for materials handling, specializing in the food processing industry.
We serve customers within Southern, Central and Northern Africa, and other countries within the developing world.
Industries & Markets –
• Abattoirs, red meat, poultry and fish processing plants.
• Cereal, grain and nut processors.
• Bakeries, confectioneries and sweet factories.
• Fresh produce processing, pack-house and dairies.
Product Overview –
• Manufacture of Modular Belt Conveyors, Woven Belt Conveyors, Elevator Conveyors and Roller Conveyors,
• Custom design and fabrication of production equipment.
• Vacuum packaging production lines.
Progretto – Progetto International is based in Killarney Gardens, Cape Town and specializes in the supply of services and equipment to complete small to turnkey solutions in the materials handling, packaging, and process industries. Progetto International has Project Management, Design and Manufacturing capabilities to cater for its customer’s specific needs and requirements.
Progetto can supply conveyor systems to convey, transfer, divert, rotate, push, accumulate and handle almost every product and application in the manufacturing process.
Our conveyor systems are designed to maximize efficiency, simplicity, and flexibility at the most cost-effective way.
A full range of custom-made conveyors can be manufactured and supplied using various types of materials – Stainless steel, mild steel, or aluminum.
Conveyor designs include slat chain, modular belts, flat belts, rollers conveyors, pallet conveyors, chain driven units, etc.
Progetto also offer the following equipment for the food industries.
• Filling machines
• Labelling systems
• Case, tray, and crate packing equipment.
• Carton erecting and closing systems
• Flow wrapping systems.
• Pallet and shrink-wrapping equipment.
Another significant automation consideration includes the advent of robotic precision to increase efficiencies while also picking up the production pace.
ABB’s FlexPicker robot has long proven itself in picking and packing croissants and Napolitanas in a system installed by Dulcesol. Its robotic arms feature a 130 to 150 pick/min speed range, replacing the need for direct labour, significantly improving hygiene conditions and productivity. Breakages also reduce by almost 10%.
Yaskawa South Africa –
Bringing more than 30 years of experience in robotics to the table locally is Johannesburg-based Yaskawa Robotics, a company that has installed and supported more than 1 500 successful installations across a number of local industries.
Increases in labour costs, competitive pressures, speed of production and the ever-growing need for improved efficiencies drives robotic expansion.
Best suited to small-item high-speed handling such as in biscuit baking is the Motoman MPP3 and MPL5 very high speed picking and packing machines. Motoman has technical backup on hand from highly skilled and experienced technicians in branches in all the main centres. Rapid response to breakdowns is ensured via a substantial spare parts holding.
The Yaskawa MPP3 robot is not only flexible it can stack in a variety of patterns.
By using a vision system a quality selection can also be made. Any biscuit that is deformed or broken will disappear into the scrap box.
Despite the course structure of the muesli biscuit, the MPP3 robot and its specially designed gripper will pick the biscuit and put it into the flowpacker with ease.
Local Biscuit Producers
The informal biscuit trade makes up a high percentage of total biscuit sales that is not necessarily being catered for by retailers. A large portion of the local biscuit market is being supplied by imported biscuits, leaving a lot of room for improvement.
Although it is difficult for smaller bakeries to compete because there is a volume related break-even point to affording an automatic packaging machine, there is a significant market for ‘hand-made’ or custom products. The warm aroma of such a custom biscuit line will linger long after the taste fades from one’s tongue. “The only challenge will be to cater to volume in this environment.
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