It claims, by 2023, the annual growth rate is expected to be in the region of 10.3%. The industry’s total sales in the three largest markets alone - China, the UK and South Korea - will be around €34bn ($37.8bn) in 2019.
Vegan, clear labelling
In many countries, the production of bakery goods is one of the largest and fastest-growing segments in the food industry and is often only surpassed by sales in meat and poultry production.
The challenges posed by this growing demand include trends like consumers’ desire for healthier, vegan or vegetarian products and the clear labelling of ingredients on packaging.
Producers of bakery goods also have to contend with increasing environmental requirements and present their products in a more environmentally conscious manner. Even societal changes like the rise in single-person households and increasing mobility affect the industry: packaging sizes and the way products are prepared present growing challenges for producers of food products and bakery goods.
Before the end consumer can buy and enjoy their baked goods, there are a lot of processes to complete, according to Willy-Sebastian Metzger, director marketing, strategy and business development, Minebea Intec.
First, the required raw materials are delivered. Production is the second step and is either carried out manually or by automated means. This step is made up of many individual processes, from dosing, mixing and kneading the ingredients to adding them to the molds for baking, cooling and eventually cutting the baked goods.
The products then need to be packaged up, during which various inspections and checkweighing processes are carried out. Followed by the dispatch of goods, which involves picking the order and shipping the finished bakery products to retailers or end customers.
With the demand for food growing exponentially worldwide, a much higher level of automation is required in the industry, said Metzger.
High-precision technology is needed to inspect the baked goods in virtually every single one of the work steps to guarantee the large quantities required at a consistently high level of quality.
Silo weighing and floor scales record the exact material quantities during the various production phases and truck scales perform the same task at goods receipt and issue.
Every component that comes into direct contact with the food must fulfil strict hygienic design requirements to minimise any safety risks for the consumer.
Minebea Intec has expanded its Industry 4.0 offering in bakery processing with the addition of its statistical process control software SPC@Enterprise and ProRecipe XT recipe management software.
“With our portfolio of products and services, we offer everything from receipt of the raw materials to the finished end product,” said Metzger.
SPC@Enterprise 4.0 allows for logging samples and automatic in-process checks for the food industry. It also enables the efficient networking of various equipment and systems from Minebea Intec and other suppliers with a monitoring program, production and verification statistics and data backup.
Release 3.5 of ProRecipe XT can be used for manual formulation and weighing, as well as automated processes. The software’s menu helps to make processes more efficient and reliable, while the comprehensive documentation of the weighing process and a host of reporting options improve transparency in the recipe process.
Both SPC@Enterprise and ProRecipe XT are able to communicate with ERP and MES systems via flexible interfaces and can be integrated in existing structures and systems.
“SPC@Enterprise is a powerful piece of software for pre-packaging checking and statistical process control. We are constantly updating it and expanding its functionality,” added Metzger.
The latest addition to the Minebea Intec inspection portfolio is the Essentus checkweigher, tailored to individual application profiles.
“We are often asked for a simple, inexpensive entry-level model that enables reliable, precise check weighing and classification on the packaging line. That’s where the Essentus efficiency, which offers the essential weighing functions, comes in,” said Metzger.
“For customers who require more, the Essentus performance offers a checkweigher with advanced capabilities and Essentus variants will be available in the near future.
“We will then increase the number of potential applications even further and quite significantly.”