Baking & Snack - October 2015 - 74

SEEDERS & TOPPERS

Minimizing that damage and
the shearing of product is key,
especially if the baker is using a
mixture of substantially sized seeds.
That same scenario wreaks havoc when handling
seeds large enough to sustain considerable harm during the dispensing process. Minimizing that damage
and the shearing of product is key, especially if the
baker is using a mixture of substantially sized seeds.
"One of the more challenging aspects of seeding
is the mixture of multiple varieties of seeds," said Ty
Sarajian, president, Axis Automation, Hartland, WI.
"Unless specifically designed to handle these blends,
the equipment can actually cause separation of the
lighter and heavier seeds, which shows up as an uneven coverage of the product."
Mr. Sarajian said the equipment Axis designs has to
address all of those issues at once, being able to gently separate, accurately meter and then uniformly dispense the difficult-to-handle ingredients. And then
the equipment must do it again and again over a long
period of time.
"Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all
approach to the variety of particulates in the baking
and snack works," he said. "But we have managed to
refine our approach to a narrow range of highly effective solutions."

Managing moisture
Toppings with higher moisture content can present
their own string of problems, the biggest of which is
fairly obvious. Wetter particulates tend to stick and
clump together, making their dispersion significantly
trickier.
"The target portioning of wetter toppings like
moist, high-fat streusel onto muffins, cakes or pies
is difficult due to the tendency of the toppings to
pack and bridge," said Lance Aasness, executive vicepresident, Hinds-Bock, Bothell, WA. It is those wet,
sticky materials, not necessarily larger ones, that give
Hinds-Bock its biggest challenges, he said.
To deal with those issues, Hinds-Bock developed
its Moist Streusel Machine, which uses a servo drive
auger with cutting wheels. Product coverage chutes
portion and target the difficult-to-handle products.
"Rotating distribution blades and servo-driven masking chutes are used for the target application and to
spread [streusel] onto larger cakes such as ring cakes,"
Mr. Aassness said. "The same machine can be equipped

74 Baking & Snack October 2015 / www.bakingandsnack.com

Less can be more (work)
Most equipment suppliers claim their
topping and seeding machines are quite
versatile when it comes to dispersion
rates. Of course, most products call for a
significant amount of toppings or seeds to
be added. Some foods, however, require
much, much less.
"The request for lower dispersion rates
is pretty common right now," said David
Moline, sales and marketing manager,
Moline Machinery, LLC. "We're actually
seeing a lot of demand for very, very low
dispersion rates."
Those low rates are used for the dispensing of just a few particulates onto a product. Some muffins just need a few dried
blueberries. Some brownies are finished off
nicely with two walnut chunks.
"Some of them just want three or four
little pieces on a muffin top or something,"
said Mitch Lindsey, technical sales, Burford
Corp. "It's just enough to give it a little
place of character - that little extra shine
for the market."
Achieving this means slowing down.
"We're doing a lot of this with our nut topper," Mr. Lindsey said. "With the expense
of that ingredient, of course, you want to
make sure you don't use too much. That
forces you to run at slower speeds and
make adjustments."
Mr. Moline's thoughts were along those
same lines: "It gets down to balancing the
type of shaft you're using and its design
with the RPM and how fast your product
is going," he said. "The low dispersion
rates are the most challenging; that's really
where our ability to customize is a huge
advantage."
The challenge grows when the baked
item calls for just a few pieces of a wet
topping. "The tendency of such materials
to stick together makes it especially difficult
to get the correct appearance or weight
specifications when using small, decorative
quantities," said Ty Sarajian, president, Axis
Automation. "If you are trying to make a visual impact with a few blueberries topping
a muffin, but you can't deliver exactly two
or three berries every time, this becomes a
real issue."


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