Automating the Rotary Moulder
Totally automatic control of a new generation of rotary moulder for the biscuit industry will provide benefits in terms of consistency and repeatability. Rapid product changeover and additional management information are provided.
The upgraded APV Baker Series 540 machine offers motorised adjustment of all the major functions - forcing roll gap, moulding roll scraper position, extraction roll position, and web tension.
These are independently adjusted to maximise precision of process and weight control, but previously, only the extraction roll position could be motorised. Many companies have preferred to trust operator experience to adjust all these functions by hand wheel - and particularly to 'feel' web tension.
The rapid spread of SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems requiring complete plant operating data to function effectively, and a decline in the availability of skilled operators, has stimulated the introduction of full automation.
Definitive settings can now be identified and stored for every product, measured by a load cell for web tension, and by position sensors for the other parameters. These settings are re-selected at every changeover or start up - a particular asset with rotary moulded doughs, which have a finite life and can be less workable as they age.
If there's a lengthy changeover, the initial settings will be made to suit an 'old' dough - then have to be re-set when the next batch of dough reaches the machine, with inevitable loss of production time and, probably, expensive dough.
The new rotary moulder retains the ability for operator adjustment, within limits chosen by the plant management.
This development of the Series 540 provides the ability to fully integrate the rotary moulder into a SCADA system, providing real time and historic data to optimise the performance of the whole plant.
Rotary moulding continues to be regarded as the ideal method of producing a wide range of biscuits, and the new Series 540 retains all its existing benefits that have ensured a high level of sales world-wide.
Those benefits include running speeds up to 40 metres/minute, a choice of widths to work with plants up to 1600mm, and the use of established industry standard sizes of moulding roll.
In comparative tests major manufacturers have found that the geometry and drive system of the 540 Moulder allows the greatest range of dough types (very high and very low fat) to be produced at high efficiency levels.