It’s time to fix manual ingredient weighing at iba 2018

If you’re planning to visit iba 2018, you’ll be able to see our robotic ingredient handling solution in action for the first time. Did you know that manual handling and weighing of ingredients can cost bakeries up to one per cent of turnover? We’ve developed our patented robotic ingredient handling system to help you to tackle this problem, increasing your margins, as well as delivering improved accuracy and product safety.

We’re delighted to announce that the iba award judging panel has recognised the potential of our revolutionary ingredient weighing solution as we have been shortlisted for the prestigious iba award, with the winners to be announced at the show!

Robots on a roll

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Our APRIL Robotics Ingredient Handling system offers a real alternative to bakeries that generally rely on operators on the factory floor to weigh out micro-ingredients. The system’s cells automatically weigh powders to an accuracy up to +/- 0.1g at weigh-up rates of up to 1,000kg/hr. It can also deal with a wide weighing range without any mechanical change components, reducing the risk of downtime caused by machine stoppages or breakdown. The cells have a turndown of 1,000 to 1 while maintaining the highest level of accuracy and zero product cross-contamination risk - increasing traceability and improving food safety.

Going against the grain

The reliance on operators to complete arduous weighing tasks in harsh, dusty working environments is a real problem for all involved. Health problems can ensue from working with powders, while bakeries are exposed to labour costs and the risk of errors that is par for the course when humans undertake repetitive tasks.

Traditional alternatives to labour have included mechanical, screw and auger based systems, yet they often don’t have the flexibility needed for large-scale bakeries working with many different ingredients. What’s more, common transfer lines in pneumatic conveying expose bakers to the risk of cross-contamination, not to mention the number of ingredients that these systems can't handle. Can a traditional system switch seamlessly from handling calcium propanoate to seeds? And how can bakeries deal with ‘free-from’ production with such limited tools?

Rising to the challenge

This is where autonomous robotic ingredient handling comes in. Bringing unprecedented flexibility, you can significantly improve your profitability by fully automating your ingredient handling and storage, minimising human intervention and maximising traceability and accuracy.

The APRIL cells are simple and easy to use. Ingredients are decanted into dedicated APRIL Smart Containers (ASC) and stored in a robotic cell. Whole pallets of ingredients can be decanted and stored, significantly improving operator productivity and freeing their time for other activities.

The APRIL cell integrates with ERP systems, so you can import works orders automatically into the system. Live stock levels are reported back for accurate ingredient tracking, so the robot retrieves and manages the ingredients as required and weighs them out to your recipe. The recipe mixes are then presented at integrated retrieval stations. The APRIL Robotics Ingredient Handling System combines exceptional storage density with very high flexibility. It’s easy to fit into existing bakeries and makes optimal use of the available area.

Ready for a slice of the action?

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OAL has a full-sized demo operating at its Peterborough facility. Systems are currently being installed and will be operational in European plants prior to a wider roll out in 2019. With unprecedented demand already, the team is focusing on applications where weighing takes place 24/7, maximising your return on investment.

For more information, why not come and visit us in hall B5 stand 446 at iba, Messe München, Germany, 16-20 September 2018 and see the results for yourself!

Deborah Stokoe