Product Sector: Salad and Fresh Cut, Pasta, Rice and Pulses, Vegetables, Fruit and Berries, Powder and Granules
Bradgate Bakery is a major producer of prepacked sandwiches for leading supermarket chains. Dodman was asked to provide an automated solution that would reduce manual tasks and improve the accuracy of adding stuffing for sandwiches
The manual process of adding stuffing to the sandwich had required two operators per shift who applied stuffing to up to 45 slices per minute. Our challenge was to provide a mobile Feeder that would add fresh stuffing mix to bread prepared with a layer of mayonnaise. The stuffing required careful handling as it consolidated easily, and it was important to distribute the stuffing on each slice of bread, evenly, accurately and without spillage. The specification required that all parts of the equipment could be accessible for cleaning as food safety and hygiene is paramount.
Dodman has a great deal of experience offering specialist equipment for demanding applications within the food industry. The Dodman electromagnetic feeder is carefully designed to ensure that material flow can be accurately metered and evenly distributed. The electromagnetic feeder has a fast response which is useful for shutting off feed quickly and accurately. Dodman also has considerable experience of belt conveying for hygienic food applications.
Following extensive testing with Bradgate, Dodman arrived at a solution that was able to handle the sticky, cohesive stuffing mix reliably and accurately. The solution was to provide a smooth inclined belt feeder that worked with a profiled plough to regulate the flow of stuffing from a small manually filled hopper. The belt maintained a steady flow of stuffing to a vibrating tray. Bradgate needed to prepare 60 sandwiches per minute so there was insufficient time to start, feed and stop the electromagnetic feeder within one second. An innovative method of ramping the power levels of the vibrator to achieve short cycles was developed. A scarfed tray distributed the flow of stuffing evenly across the full width of the bread. The sticky product required special coatings and the use of an innovative scraper mechanism to ensure the tray remained serviceable.
An autonomous control panel ensures the sequencing of the process and the ability to set product and application parameters.
The AccuVibe has been designed as a mobile unit on wheels is autonomous in operation with only an electrical power supply. It takes no more than one minute to fully strip the AccuVibe for cleaning, exposing all the product contact surfaces. The complete unit is designed so that reassembly is equally simple and can also be completed within one minute.
This collaborative development project has been a huge success. The Dodman AccuVibe has replaced the need for four operators across two shifts. The accuracy of each deposit of stuffing is now within +/- 1.5 grams reducing overfeed. Overspill has been kept to a minimum. The unit can be redeployed on any production line and it may be used on a variety of products. The unit is simple to use, autonomous and exceedingly easy to clean.
Bradgate is delighted, not only with the success of the product but also with the success of the product development project overall.
Dodman has more than 30 years of experience supplying food processing and handling systems to the food industry. If you are interested to know more about Dodman, this specific project or have similar challenges to overcome, please give us a call, we would very happy to help you develop your processes.