Nothing is more wholesome, ancient and basic as baking bread.
But baking bread – or anything else – on a commercial scale isn’t a simple process. As is the case in any business, commercial bakers need to produce the best possible products at the lowest possible costs. That’s why one renowned global baker turns to Avanceon for help with technology upgrades and obsolescence planning.
Not long ago, the baking customer realized that the steam process they were using to heat their ovens was inefficient: too much heat was simply being wasted in the attempt to keep the ovens at the proper temperature. The company wondered if it would be possible to recover the heat expelled by their thermal oxidizers and tie it into a glycol loop. That would essentially “recycle” lost heat and substantially reduce their oven heating costs. As they’ve been a long-term partner, they once again turned to Avanceon to create and implement a solution.
The bakery originally assumed that the best way to approach the problem would be to create two separate source controls that would work simultaneously to balance heat coming from the steam lines and the glycol loop. This would require fairly complex tuning parameters – balancing two separate variables to achieve the proper mix of heat sources to maintain the ovens at the right temperatures. After meeting with the customer team, studying the issue, and examining the company’s proposed solution, the Avanceon team suggested that the company could simplify the process and recover more heat with a different approach to the problem – maximizing use of heat provided via the glycol loops.
The Avanceon Solution
Avanceon designed a simpler, single-controller system that utilized the glycol loops “free heat” first – the loops would provide 100% of the heat necessary for the ovens in the first production line. For the 2nd and 3rd production lines, the system would use the free heat until it was expended, then automatically switch to the steam heat without requiring complex measuring and tuning. Not only was this solution more efficient and cost effective, it also provided better temperature control, resulting in more consistent temperatures for the baking process and better results for the product.
Avanceon assigned a team of engineers to analyze the issue and develop the solution, and over a two-week period they worked on control screen modifications, PLC programming, and commissioning and site implementation. Since the customer had a very tight installation window, Avanceon completed the installation in one day over a regular weekend shutdown, then came in at 2:30AM to monitor system start up and ensure there was no production down-time.
The Bakery now has a “greener”, more efficient process for heating its ovens – one that avoids temperature fluctuations, helps create a more consistent product, and saves the company money.
As the customer’s Project Engineer puts it, “[Avanceon’s] understanding of process controls and the baking process resulted in the achievement of the project’s deliverables in an impressive timeframe. The bread proofers can now run almost exclusively off of waste heat, providing significant savings to the facility, while also achieving improved process control of the proofers.”