TC Brød ApS, a commercial baker based in Grindsted, Denmark, recently made major equipment investments aimed at increasing automation and capacity. A key part of this initiative was upgrading its problematic spiral proofer.
TC Brød’s previous solution used two spirals (one elevating and one de-elevating) to convey Danish pastries. Because the pastries were still uncooked and contained high amounts of butter, they were very delicate and especially sensitive to sudden movements. Transferring pastries between the two spirals was a challenge; to prevent product damage, belt speed and product load were kept intentionally low. The buttery dough produced grease that migrated to the spiral drums, causing belt flip-ups. To safeguard against this, TC Brød cleaned the spirals several times a week. The flip-ups and frequent cleanings led to many periods of unscheduled downtime that greatly hindered production.
TC Brød needed a spiral conveyor belt solution that could help improve throughput, would not damage products, and would reduce or eliminate unscheduled downtime. The company partnered with an equipment manufacturer who recommended an innovative, two-drum-one-belt solution using the Intralox® DirectDrive™ System (DDS™).
The DDS’s patented operating system engages the belt edge directly with the drum to decrease maintenance and cleaning costs while maximizing production time for spirals. In proofing applications, the DDS:
- Eliminates product movement and jamming
- Ensures correct product alignment
- Reduces product loss or damage
- Eliminates overdrive
And, by running a single belt across both spirals, TC Brød could eliminate the transfer point as well as any related product damage.
Since its installation in September 2016, the DirectDrive Double Drum solution has exceeded TC Brød’s expectations. The DDS’s ability to ensure correct product alignment, combined with the lack of a transfer, has eliminated product damage. TC Brød’s DDS solution runs more quickly than previous spirals and holds a higher product load.
Because the system operates even when grease migrates to the drum, belt flip-ups are no longer an issue. TC Brød now cleans the proofer once a week on a consistent, predictable schedule. Plant officials have experienced no unscheduled downtime and can now assign fewer workers to the area per shift. Combined with the other upgrades throughout the plant, the DirectDrive Double Drum solution has improved TC Brød’s throughput dramatically. The plant now produces 10 times as much product as it did before.