Supermarket Perimeter - August 2020 - 56

EQUIPMENT

We're doing more upstream and
downstream digital integrations with
customers' existing equipment. We've
integrated our food service servo depositors
with packaging lines where one machine
communicates deposit signals and
parameters to the entire system."

COVID-19 has also highlighted
the need for less human effort in
producing food, Bal added. The
call for social distancing, more
PPE requirements, and the simple
realization that shutdowns/
lockdowns may be needed until
a vaccine is discovered, means
manufacturers are more open to
considering automation, so that
businesses rely less on labor and
more on equipment.
"This will be instrumental to
business continuity," she said.

On the horizon

Sonia Bal, Unifiller
collecting useful data on
production rates, cycles and
deposits."
Cake producers are also able
to configure the system to their
specific needs by adding prefinishing modules for cardboard
placement, cake slicing, glue
icing; or post-finishing modules
for bordering or decorating, such
as adding roses, intricate patterns
or writing.
Unifiller's servo-operated
depositors are designed for a host
of benefits, bringing convenience
and efficiency to any food
manufacturer, Bal said.
"We're doing more upstream
and downstream digital
integrations with customers'
existing equipment," she said.
"We've integrated our food
service servo depositors with
packaging lines where one
machine communicates deposit
signals and parameters to the
entire system. Easy-to-use,
programmable touch screen
controls and a built-in ability to
act as a slave to an automated
conveyor-based production
system, add further efficiency."
Cycle and deposit counters
and electronic 100 recipe storage
make these machines an ideal
56 - AUGUST 2020

solution for customers with more
advanced needs, Bal added.
Unifiller's servo depositors can
be fitted with a full range of
custom bridge-mounted nozzles,
integrated over conveyors for
automatic filling for various form,
fill and seal lines.

COVID's impact
COVID has increased demand for
automation and for the modular
approach that companies like
Bakon offer, Imberechts said.
The company has also seen
more attention to sanitation and
sanitary design, which Bakon is
well positioned to deliver, thanks
to the ease of cleaning its units.
Right now, the only predictable
thing about COVID and its impact
on baking and the rest of the food
world, Bal said, is unpredictability.
"As with many markets, we saw
a global decline in demand for
equipment, due to government
lock-downs and social distancing
rules that forced businesses to
close operations. Many of our
customers faced supply chain
shortages or were shut due to
health and safety concerns."
Even businesses considered
"essential services" were
impacted, she added. For

example, meat plants impacted
by a COVID-19 outbreaks were
forced to shut down for weeks,
not only impacting their own
production capabilities, but
also the production capabilities
of other downstream food
manufacturers reliant on their
product.
"Right now, we know people
are interested in depositors.
However, it's taking a longer
buying cycle to close deals.
This will remain the case, until
budgets and spending are back in
line with pre-COVID times."

supermarketperimeter.com

Looking ahead, Imberechts
expects to see more depositor
product innovations in cake
production.
"The changes are driven by
the creativity of our customers,
the ever-changing consumer
demand and the availability of
new technologies -for instance,
the possibilities offered by
ultrasonic cutting of full sheets
of cakes."
Bakon also foresees an
increase need for integration.
Bakon's modular approach offers
big integration advantages for its
customers, Imberechts said.
Also on the horizon: the
introduction of robotic arms

Expect more depositor
innovations in cake
production from Bakon
and other suppliers.


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Supermarket Perimeter - August 2020

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