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Industrial Bakery Austerschmidt in Germany automates handling of seeds with Piab’s vacuum conveyors

Automating seed spreading in bread baking with Piab's piFLOWf

Employee relief and careful use of resources prompted the industrial bakery Austerschmidt in Germany to switch the handling of seeds from a manual to an automated process. In piFLOW®f vacuum conveyors, they found the critical tools.

A large number of seeds are used in the production of bread to give the baked goods their individual taste. In particular, a solution was needed for the conveying of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and linseed. Because they had already had good experiences with a Piab vacuum conveyor on another machine, the Austerschmidt Fresh Bakery in Delbrück, Germany, decided in favor of a Piab solution in this case, too. The aim was to make the process more ergonomic for the employees and to minimize bending and lifting. At the same time, they wanted the process to run more efficiently and achieve greater process reliability through automation.

With the piFLOW®f - a vacuum conveyor specializing in the conveyance of food – all three goals could be achieved. The conveyor now automatically fills the hopper for the seed spreading device without an employee having to do this manually with a shovel. Due to two spreading units, the conveyor was placed on a mobile frame in order to be able to use it at both stations of the system. The conveyor draws in the seeds from a trough using a feed wand or, in the case of mixtures, from a boiler. The spreading units let the grains trickle in a strip onto the conveyor belt, into which the bread is placed, pressed and turned. In this way, the bread is given a uniform look. Grains that that do not stick to the product and fall off are also fed back into the conveyor and thus into the process by using a feed wand and a hose. This means that the seeds can be used almost 100 percent. Hence, only the smallest quantities of these foods have to be disposed.

Ludger Pape, factory manager of the Austerschmidt bakery explains: “It was important for us that our employees go home without back pain and that we use the food resource as gently as possible. At the same time, we deploy the conveyor to achieve a continuously more stable process. Because instead of worrying about the constant refilling of the seeds, the employee who is responsible for the entire bread-making process on the line can concentrate fully on the process of making the dough. This is important because every dough is different and always requires slight adjustments to the machine. Since he can now fully look after the other production processes, this has a positive effect on the consistently high quality of our products, which is our top priority."

“Since we have a lot of experience in conveying seeds, no extra test run was necessary when designing this conveyor. In this way we were able to complete the piFLOW®f in the shortest possible time according to the wishes of the customer and test and run it there directly to satisfaction,” adds Konstantin Schmidt, responsible area sales manager at Piab.

“Above all, we were impressed by Piab's rapid planning and implementation, taking our requirements for integration into the existing systems into account one-to-one. In addition to the excellent, customer-related advice, we were also delighted that the delivery timeframe was met and that we were able to put the vacuum conveyor into operation very quickly, ”added Dirkt Austerschmidt, Managing Director at Austerschmidt Fresh Bakers.

The piFLOW®f vacuum conveyor is widely used in industries where food quality is required. It is employed as an alternative to mechanical conveyors, particularily when dust-free conveying or little maintenance is required. Another advantage is that the pump is based on COAX® technology, the most energy-efficient way to create a vacuum. To support large companies even better, Piab has expanded its piFLOW®i / f product range with a new vacuum conveyor for larger batch volumes.

The new piFLOW®i / f has a 28L housing and offers possibilities to increase the pump performance. This is done by installing two piBASIC 400 or 600 pumps.

This increases the capacity of the conveyor from the current 5 tons per hour (14L content and piBASIC600 pump) for the now small conveyor to 7.5 tons per hour (28L content and 2x piBASIC600 pumps).

The Piab conveyors for the food industry are equipped with a housing made of stainless steel (ASTM 304) and the seals, which are in direct contact with the product to be conveyed, meet both the FDA and all European guidelines to meet the requirements of the food industry . Piab's piFLOW®f is also ATEX Dust certified.

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