21 Nov Smooth operators: Quality of baked goods reliant on well-lubricated equipment
The way the local bakery gets their favourite pastries and bread loaves so perfectly fluffy and moist has a lot to do with the bakery equipment used, and the smooth functioning of this equipment strongly relies on a lubrication system.
Oven chains are one of the highest cost components in any bakery operation, because the logistics of replacing them is so complex. It is both time and cost heavy to do so, requiring oven down time as well as labour time. The need to replace oven chains, however, is avoidable, because the wear and tear is usually the result of less than optimal lubrication practises.
According to Steve Keown, BSC National Product Manager for Lubricants, oven downtime in a bakery is incentive enough to invest in better lubrication systems. Keown often recommends Alemlube to customers due to the quality of their products and their history in supplying lubrication systems to the food and beverage sector.
Alemlube is a full solutions provider of lubrications systems, with the capabilities to provide off-the-shelf lubrication equipment. In an interview, Alemlube’s Lubrication Systems Product Manager, John Knight, explained that the organisation has a dedicated division which designs, installs and services the major lubrications systems integral to the food and beverage industry.
Knight passionately believes Alemlube’s automated lubrication solutions can and do increase the efficiency of bakery operations, particularly because it will mean more oven uptime.
“The logistics of oven chain replacement is daunting. It’s complicated and time consuming to conduct,” explains Knight. “The time it takes to lubricate chains by hand impacts on the productivity of the bakery and the labour cost to do this is also quite high. Lubricating the equipment automatically eliminates the labour and time needed for manual lubrication, which in turn increases productivity. The automation of this process also eliminates the risk of under or over lubrication.”
Alemlube’s BEKA Magnetic Pump Chain Lubrication System is the primary system utilised by commercial bakeries and other applications in the food and beverage sector.
It is an electric multi-shot dispensing system. Oil is dispensed in small shots, with options for preferred volume of oil, with a frequency of up to 300 shots/minute possible. This method of dispensing in small quantities also minimises waste. The shots are dispensed precisely to the chain pins, without air or brushes needed.
“It makes precision lubrication of oven chains quite easy,” Knight confirms. “Keeping the oven chain in optimum fully lubricated condition reduces wear and, therefore, increases chain life. This is all made possible while the oven is in production, which is a bonus.”
According to Knight, the optimal time to lubricate the chain is during operation. Lubricating critical components during the process not only saves time, but actively reduces mechanical wear.
Other Alemlube products, such as single and multi-point lubricators, are also relevant to and suitable for installation in bakeries depending on the specific application and location.
While the lubrication of equipment is often treated as a secondary concern and the budget for it kept as minimal as possible, Knight believes it is an essential component of the smooth functioning of any machinery and equipment.
“Determining the ‘best lubrication solution’ for your machinery is hard, because optimal lubrication requires skill, time, manpower and money, but Alemlube designs their systems with the intention to make this as easy as possible.”
Alemlube automates the process of lubrication to ensure optimal lubrication of all points is maintained during production. The result is to reduce breakdowns, increase life of critical plant and to allow the redirection of maintenance resources to other tasks, such as baking!