The digital donut fryer was showcased at Interpack 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany earlier this month.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com about the line, Mark Allsopp, export manager for WP Riehle, said bakery manufacturers could improve the quality of their donuts but also save on time and cost.
“An analog system would have mechanical switches turning it on and off for its given temperature. They move slowly compared to a digital system. A digital switch will move in milliseconds, compared to a mechanical system that will take a while.”
The biggest advantage to that speed, he said, was better temperature control.
“If the temperature in a fryer drops down too low, your product will absorb more oil. So, you get a heavier product that is fattier, so it’s less healthy. And most importantly for a lot of bakers, you’re transporting oil out of the fryer and selling it with the product… The less oil that leaves the line, the better,” he said.
Less oil loss, better product
It was important for donut makers to avoid too much oil absorption during production, Allsopp said, because with too much oil, the product became difficult to pack.
“Donuts are traditionally packed in plastic packaging. If the product is oily, you will find that in the packaging. So, the less oil you have, the nicer it is when you pick it up to eat it and the better it looks on shelf,” he said.
In addition, the conveyor belt system on the line was very shallow, he said, which meant there was a lot less oil used – up to 20% less than other fryers. “This means you need less heating power, so you save money on that as well,” he added.
Automatic lifting for better cleaning
The line also featured an automated lift control that raised the transport belt and heating system out of the fryer for easy cleaning.
“Automation brings you time-efficiency. Time is money,” said Allsopp. “If a machine is down for a couple of hours for cleaning because it’s all manual, that’s a couple of hours of lost production. If you can do it all in 30 minutes, then you’ve won yourself an hour and a half every time you clean it.”