SEW-Eurodrive is assisting the bakery industry to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption by means of its Movigear mechatronic drive system. The company has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Dale Spiral Systems & Bakery Automation of Johannesburg.
The main advantage of Movigear is that the combination of servo motor, gear unit and electronics are combined in a single system that is highly reliable and hygienically designed. “Apart from reducing start-up costs, it also plays a vital role in cutting total operating expenses in an industry where pricing is the main factor,” comments Adam Sweeting, operations director, Dale Spiral Systems & Bakery Automation.
The company was established in 1998 by Chris and Jill Dale, who sought to transfer their considerable expertise in bread conditioning and cooling to South Africa. Twenty years later, the company is an acknowledged global leader in its field, holding a number of patents, and continually developing new equipment and systems in response to client requirements.
Extending the shelf life of bread
Conditioning or cooling extends the shelf life of bread significantly, as well as limiting the weight loss during the process, with much less handling required than traditional systems. The OEM has evolved from supplying conveyor systems only to a turnkey solutions approach that encompasses all ancillary equipment, from ovens to provers, spirals, conveyors, mixers and robotics.
“We have taken 20-year-old machines and reconditioned them to an ‘as new’ condition,” explains Sweeting. “Our extensive experience in this regard has allowed us to develop our own equipment that improves on existing systems, under trademarks such as Bakermation, Coolermation, and Mixermation.”
The company initially approached SEW-Eurodrive to supply drives for its conveyor products. Teething problems with suppliers eventually resulted in Dale standardising on the German drives due to their reliability, range of power options, and ability to maintain a constant torque rating.
The drive to promote Movigear in the bakery industry will allow Dale to increase its market penetration by focusing on refurbishing existing systems, many of which are outdated, and hence not equipped with the latest energy-saving and monitoring equipment. “While the initial capital outlay is perceived as the main stumbling block for such a conversion, we educate customers as to the long-term benefits and the impact on total cost of ownership and return on investment,” stresses SEW-Eurodrive sales representative, Nick McKey.
Energy intensive industries such as bakeries and food and beverage plants are increasingly looking to reduce their energy consumption, which is where the one-fit Movigear system has a role to play. Features include high overall efficiency, from the motor to the gear unit and electronics, an optimised interface between the motor and gear unit, highly efficient gearing, smart control methods, IE4 (super premium efficiency) compliance, and a compact design with optimised housing.
Another major benefit is that any future automation that may be required can be integrated seamlessly, while additional options such as trouble shooting and problem solving can also be accommodated. Bakeries often have limited space, which means that the reduction in cabling and smaller cabinets required also add to the value proposition.
“There are proactive clients in the bakery industry who are keen to move forward through technology such as Movigear, which gives them an advantage in this highly competitive industry,” comments McKey. “Another advantage for customers is the aftermarket support and technical backup we offer.”
The strong relationship between the two companies is testament to how SEW-Eurodrive focuses on the specific requirements of a particular industry, concentrating on the best products for a turnkey solution that is modular and adaptable to future needs.
Commenting on the current state of the bread industry, Sweeting concludes that while there has been a lull in projects such as new production lines and facilities, there is a definite opportunity for sustained growth in the southern African region for upgrades to ageing mechatronics technology and automation systems.
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